ACT Covid Update: Canberra Lockdown Extended for Four Weeks After 22 New Coronavirus Cases | Australia news

Canberra will remain closed for another month, with the Australian Capital Territory announcing an extension until October 15 to ensure that society is not “overwhelmed by the virus”.

When the ACT registered 22 new cases of Covid-19, Prime Minister Andrew Barr announced that the lockdown would continue beyond Friday, as it was previously scheduled to end.

The ACT government has also promised to expand and expand a number of financial support measures. Despite the extension of the lockdown, year 12 students in ACT will return to learning on campus from the start of semester four on October 5, as they enter a “critical time” in their education. Year 12 students, teachers and staff will have the option of priority vaccination before returning.

Barr said Tuesday that the territory continues to experience community transmission of the highly infectious Delta variant and is still registering cases where the source of transmission was unknown.

“Without strong public health measures, our society would quickly be overwhelmed by the virus, especially our unvaccinated population,” Barr said in a joint statement with Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.

“Based on the health risk left in the territory and in our region, the health chief has recommended to the government that the ACT lockdown be extended for a four-week period until Friday 15 October with some minor changes to public health instructions. ”

These changes – which apply from kl. 23.59 Friday – includes that social and recreational sports can continue with up to five people who can gather outdoors (but does not include coaching, training or competitive activity).

Small businesses that are currently licensed to run a “click and collect” or delivery service will be allowed to have up to five people in the business at a time or one person per day. Four square meters (the smallest).

Barr was asked during a media conference whether Covid-zero was still possible given the situation in New South Wales, and replied that it “is still a challenge”.

“We are in danger from NSW and we will continue to be in danger from NSW,” he told reporters.

“We will do our best to contain this virus and we have put in place a set of measures that have been effective in avoiding a Sydney-like situation for Canberra.”

Barr acknowledged that getting public health settings right during the pandemic was “one of the most challenging balancing acts” that governments had to face – but it was “not a choice between a good and a bad option”. Leaders were looking for “the least worst solution”.

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During questioning by reporters, Barr said it was “a tough and challenging period for everyone”, but the alternative path to opening up too quickly would result in more “despair and misery”.

The ACT government said its priority over the next four weeks would be to vaccinate as many people as possible, as “a heavily vaccinated Canberra is a safer Canberra”.

The ACT government indicated that it would be able to support the gradual easing of restrictions locally as the nation reached the vaccination thresholds outlined in the national opening plan.

It said the nation is currently expected to reach 70% of the over-16 vaccination milestone in mid to late October and 80% in early to mid-November.

The ACT government said that when it would ease restrictions, it would consider a number of factors, including local and national vaccination rates and the ACT’s ability to continue testing, tracking, isolating and quarantining.

The Deputy Chief of Staff and Minister of Education, Yvette Berry, said that the year 12 students would return to the classrooms from the start of semester 4 as they completed their final school week and final exams and assessments.

Berry said as many as 12-year-old students, teachers and school staff “would have had the opportunity for priority vaccination before returning”.

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Students in year 11 can return to the classrooms from week three of semester four (October 18) if “health conditions allow”.

ACT students from preschool to year 10 are expected to continue distance learning for at least the first four weeks of semester four due to “the potential of the Delta variant to spread through school-age children”.

The additional financial support announced Tuesday includes a one-time increase of $ 200 in the supply concession, bringing it to $ 1,000 for fiscal year 2021-22.

The ACT government said homeowners who provided rent relief were entitled to a credit on their housing land tax of up to $ 100 per week. This measure was extended to December 31 at a cost of $ 2.2 million.

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