'Incredibly difficult': Canberra extends lockdown after 22 new cases

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  • ACT's lockdown extended until October 15

  • 22 new cases of Covid-19 reported

  • 51 per cent of the population fully vaccinated

ACT's lockdown has been extended for four weeks, as the territory records 22 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19.

Only two of the reported cases were in quarantine, and at least 13 were infectious in the community.

There are 10 people in ACT hospitals, two are in ICU and one of those ICU patients requires ventilation.

The ACT currently has the highest vaccination rate in the country, with 51 per cent of the population fully vaccinated. 

ACT's lockdown has been extended by four weeks until October 15. SOURCE: AAP
ACT's lockdown has been extended by four weeks until October 15. SOURCE: AAP

Seventy per cent have received one dose.

The ACT has had a total of 528 Covid cases in this outbreak.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr added the priority is to vaccinate the population, saying that eased restrictions can be introduced when vaccination milestones are met.

"We will be in a position to support the gradual easing of restrictions in the ACT, based on the current vaccination trajectories," Mr Barr said.

"The nation is anticipated to reach 70 per cent and 80 per cent effective vaccination milestones in mid-October and early to mid-November."

The lockdown has been extended until Friday, October 15.

The ACT, which has been in lockdown since August 12, originally entered a seven-day snap lockdown.

Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman advised the government against lifting lockdown because of the continuing public health risk in the ACT and surrounds.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said return of NSW's Yass Valley Council to lockdown factored into the decision.

"This is a tough and challenging period for everyone," he told reporters.

"It's not a choice between a good option, and a bad option, it's a choice in terms of what's the least worst option available to governments."

The ACT 'at risk' from NSW

Mr Barr also said the ACT will continue to be "at risk" from NSW.

"Well, look, New South Wales have been problematic for the nation throughout this process and they're incredibly problematic for the ACT given we are a jurisdiction sitting wholly within that state and we are seeing incursion of the virus outside of the Greater Sydney area," he said.

"So, I have said this from this podium, probably a dozen times over the last 30 appearances, that we have been at risk from New South Wales.

"We are at risk from New South Wales and we will continue to be at risk from New South Wales. In the weeks and months ahead."

He later said the territory could have continued a Covid-free run if it weren't for the outbreak in NSW. 

"We don't want to be in this situation, and if the virus had been controlled better in New South Wales we would have been able to continue our more than year-long run of having no Covid in our community," he said.

Back-to-school plan for term 4

Year 12 students in the ACT who have had priority access to vaccinations over the last two weeks will return to school in term 4 on October 5.

Year 11 students will return to on-campus learning from week 3 on October 18.

However, Mr Barr said the decision to return to face-to-face learning is still dependant on the health situation not deteriorating between now and then. 

"ACT students from preschool to Year 10 will continue remote learning for at least the first four weeks of term 4. 

"Our goal is to get kids back to face-to-face learning as soon as it is Covid Safe to do so and we will continue planning for the phased return to on-campus learning for pre-school to Year 10 kids in term 4."

with AAP.

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