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Coronavirus lockdown extended in Australian Capital Territory

Published September 14,2021

A coronavirus lockdown in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), home to the capital Canberra, will be extended for another four weeks, officials said Tuesday.

"Lockdown extended until 11:59 pm, Friday 15 October 2021," ACT Health said on Twitter.

It is the third extension of the current lockdown in place in the territory.

The ACT recorded 22 new coronavirus cases, taking active infections to 252, Chief Minister Andrew Barr told reporters at a daily Covid-19 briefing in Canberra on Tuesday.

He said the ACT will focus on vaccinations in the next four weeks.

Barr said the strong progress of vaccinations in the ACT and the neighbouring states of New South Wales and Victoria and would help achieve the national goal of a 70 per cent national vaccination rate in mid-October.

"A highly vaccinated Canberra is a safer Canberra," the chief minister asserted. But he cautioned that the next few weeks would be "challenging."

Barr said that 50 per cent of the ACT population aged 12 and older has now received two doses of vaccine.

The ACT initially imposed a seven-day lockdown last month after it recorded its first Covid-19 case in the community since July 2020.

Around 430,000 people live in the territory. Covid-19 restrictions are to be relaxed when at least 70 per cent of citizens have received two doses of vaccine.

Australia, with a population of 25 million, long sought to eradicate the virus completely by shutting its borders and imposing strict rules.

However, numbers have been rising in several parts of the country due to the highly transmissible Delta strain, sending large swathes of the country into lockdown.