COVID-19 lockdown extended in Australian capital amid battle against 3rd wave
CANBERRA, Sept. 14 : The COVID-19 lockdown in Australia's capital city has been extended by a month as the country continues to battle the third wave of infections.
Andrew Barr, chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), said on Tuesday that Canberra will remain in lockdown until Oct. 15.
Restrictions were due to end on Friday after 36 days in lockdown but Barr said the risk to the community remained high.
On Tuesday morning, Australia reported 1,595 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.
New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, reported 1,127 new cases and two deaths.
"There have been 186 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since June 16, 2021," said the statement from NSW Health.
Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 445 new local cases.
There were 22 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the ACT, only two of which were in quarantine for their entire infectious period. It takes the number of active cases in the national's capital to 252. The ongoing COVID-19 infections in the surrounding NSW area is one of the reasons for the extended lockdown in ACT, according to Barr.
"New South Wales has been problematic for the nation throughout this process," Barr said. "Given we are a jurisdiction sitting wholly within that state, and we are seeing incursion of the virus outside of the Greater Sydney area."
Under the current restrictions Canberrans are only allowed to leave home for six reasons: essential shopping, healthcare, essential work, outdoor exercise for a maximum of two hours per day, COVID-19 vaccinations and tests.
So far about 68.5 percent of Australians aged 16 and older had received at least one vaccine dose and 43.2 percent were fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.