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Canberra’s virus lockdown extended by a month

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Canberra has recorded 17 new cases of coronavirus. Photo: Getty
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The COVID lockdown of the ACT has been extended by a month after 22 more cases on Tuesday.

Fourteen of the new cases were linked to existing outbreaks, but only two had been in quarantine throughout their infectious period.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the lockdown extension was the safest decision for the national capital. The lockdown, which had been due to end this week, will now last until at least October 15.

“This next month is a period of uncertainty and the next few weeks will be challenging. What we are certain of, though, is that a highly vaccinated Canberra is a safer Canberra,” he said.

“This is the safest path forward and it will lead to a safer Christmas, a
safer summer holiday period and a safer 2022.”

However, there will be changes to the ACT lockdown, with Mr Barr unveiling a plan to return some children to school classrooms from term four.

“Year 12 students who have had priority access to vaccinations over the last two weeks will return to on-campus learning from the start of term 4. That is Tuesday 5 October,” he said.

“Year 11 students will return to on-campus learning from week three, Monday 18 October. That’s subject to the health situation not deteriorating between now and then.”

The remainder of ACT school students will continue with remote learning for at least the first three weeks of next term.

“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 four,” Mr Barr said.

Canberra hit a vaccination milestone on Tuesday, with 50 per cent of its residents aged 12 and over having had a first COVID shot.

The ACT has 10 COVID patients in its hospitals, including two in intensive care. One of the hospital patients is in their 20s.

Postcode alarm in Melbourne

Victoria has another 445 local COVID-19 cases and two deaths, bringing its toll from the current outbreak to six.

The state health department has confirmed 129 of Tuesday’s cases are linked to known outbreaks, with the source of the remaining 316 under investigation.

The latest infections bring the total number of active cases in Victoria to 3799.

In the 24 hours to Tuesday morning, 42,694 tests were processed and 36,615 Victorians received a vaccine dose at state-run hubs.

The two people were died were a man in his 20s and a woman in her 80s.

Victorian authorities remain concerned about the spread of the virus through Melbourne’s north and west.

Anyone who lives in 10 postcodes in those areas – 3064, 3047, 3048, 3061, 3059, 3046, 3060, 3029, 3030, 3025 – has been urged to get tested. They include suburbs such as Roxburgh Park, Craigieburn, Broadmeadows, Dallas, Coolaroo, Meadow Heights, Campbellfield, Glenroy, Hadfield, Fawkner, Hoppers Crossing, Truganina, Tarneit, and Altona North.

“Those 10 suburbs are where we’re seeing the vast majority of our cases,” COVID response deputy secretary Kate Matson said on Tuesday.

“If you work or live or have any association with those suburbs, please, come forward and get tested.”