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(AUSTRALIA) #Coronavirus Report: The ACT’s lockdown was due to end on September 2, but Chief Minister Andrew Barr today extended it until 11:59pm on Friday, September 17: The lockdown began on August 12 #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Sept.01: Just four of the new cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious periods, and at least eight were in the community while infectious: Seven of the new cases have been linked to an existing case or cluster and six are currently unlinked: 13 people are in hospital with the virus, with three people in intensive care.

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that ACT’s lockdown has been extended for another two weeks, but there will be a few changes as it records 13 new locally acquired cases of #COVID19 as the lockdown has been extended for two weeks

A close up of Andrew Barr listening to a question at a press conference.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced an extension the territory’s lockdown.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)

Mr Barr said given the number of cases that were infectious in the community over the past few days, the decision had been made to extend the ACT’s lockdown.

“Today’s headline case numbers show that we are bending the curve down and we are getting on top of the outbreak. However, it is a slow process and it will take more time,” Mr Barr said.

“We still have unlinked cases in the community, and we still have cases that are infectious in the community. So as a result, our lockdown needs to extend until 11:59pm Friday, September 17.

“So, we’re asking Canberrans to continue to stay at home and to minimise close contact with others outside of your household to reduce the transmission potential of the virus.”

Kerryn Coleman speaks at a press conference.
 ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman says the territoy’s lockdown is working.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said there had been an increase in the number of positive cases who had been infectious in the community in the past week, and that a lockdown extension was the “best decision”.

“Any ongoing chains of transmission or cases with an unconfirmed source contributes to an increased risk to our community,” Dr Coleman said.

“Considering this, and in addition to the continuing situation in NSW which surrounds us, and several clusters that we’ve talked about in our vulnerable and high-risk setting, the best decision that I think we can make is to extended the lockdown for another two weeks to help keep the ACT safe.

“I know that this has been a difficult time and, in this case, I think the end is going to be harder than the beginning. But I can assure you that this decision wasn’t taken lightly.”

Dr Coleman thanked Canberrans for their efforts in obeying lockdown restrictions.

“My shout out goes to each and every one of you out there who has helped put us in this really good position at this point in time,” she said.

“I’m just asking you – come with us for a little bit longer. I know we can get there, we just need to do it for a little bit longer.”

Dr Coleman said 245 of the ACT’s 274 total cases could be linked to a known source.

There were 3,061 tests conducted in the ACT in the 24 hours to 8:00pm on Monday — a number Mr Barr said he wanted to see stay above 3,000 after dropping below twice last week.

Exercise limit extended, playgrounds to open but remote learning to continue

While the government confirmed that remote learning would continue for the majority of students for term three, a number of other restrictions have been eased and some businesses will be able to return to work.

From 5:00pm on Thursday, the government will permit “lower-risk outdoor activities”.

These include:

  • doubling the outdoor exercise and recreation time to two hours each day
  • allowing one household (any size) or up to five people to gather outdoors for those two hours of exercise or non-organised recreation
  • reopening outdoor playgrounds
  • allowing people who work predominantly outdoors (like gardeners and landscapers) to return to work
  • increasing the number of people who can attend a funeral to 20 and the number of guests allowed to attend a wedding to 10
  • allowing up to 10 people to attend time-critical religious ceremonies

Masks will continue to be required at all times upon leaving home, including in workplaces, for anyone aged over 12.

Due to the higher transmission risk of indoor spaces, and the risk of spreading COVID-19 within households, gatherings in the home – including in outdoor areas – are still not permitted.

“We certainly don’t want your Father’s Day gift to your dad to be a COVID party. You don’t want that,” Mr Barr said: Picnics are allowed and playgrounds are back: Changes to Canberra’s lockdown restrictions

Mr Barr had already flagged a gradual reopening of the construction sector from Friday 3 September 2021.

“The partial reopening of the sector was outlined last week and this will commence under stringent COVID-safe requirements this Friday,” Mr Barr said.

“These requirements are going to be actively enforced by WorkSafe ACT and ACT Policing.”

One-off business support grants will also be increased by $10,000 for employing businesses and $3,500 for non-employing businesses that have suffered a 30 per cent decline in revenue during the lockdown.

The ACT government said eligible businesses must be primarily based in the ACT, have an annual turnover of more than $75,000, and have a total payroll of less than $10 million.

Authorities locate positive COVID-19 case linked to Ainslie Village cluster

The front of a brick building with a sign saying "Ainslie Village Resident Services Administration".
The COVID-19 case linked to the Ainslie Village cluster has now been found. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Health authorities have managed to track down the third COVID-positive case linked to the Ainslie Village social housing cluster. 

Dr Coleman said earlier today that the person’s whereabouts were unknown and confirmed they may have been out in the community.

But an ACT Health spokesperson has now confirmed authorities have managed to make contact with the positive case.

“The individual was informed of their positive test result and will continue their isolation with assistance from ACT Health,” the spokesperson said. 
 
“The health and welfare of that person, along with that of the community, remains the priority.”

Ainslie Village residents told the ABC that police had been door knocking on Monday night in a bid to locate the missing person.

#AceHealthDesk report ……Published: Sept.01: 2021:

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