Covid-19 Australia: Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirms ACT will lift its lockdown this week

The ACT is set to end its harsh lockdown restrictions by the end of the week, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has confirmed.

The territory’s leader announced Canberra will officially emerge from lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday as the state increases its vaccination coverage.

‘Case numbers are expected to increase as restrictions are eased, but being fully vaccinated provides you with protection,’ he said. 

The national capital recorded 28 infections and six deaths on Tuesday, bringing the territory’s total active cases to 450. 

The ACT will come out of lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday as the territory is on track to hit a 90 per cent double-vaccinated milestone by the end of October (pictured, a resident receives a Covid jab at Kenolta Medical Centre in Canberra)

Mr Barr announced additional minor changes to restrictions from Friday, which will allow for non-essential retail to have up to two people from the same household in the store for booked appointments, such as for test-driving cars or trying on clothes.

Cross-border areas will also be expanded to regions including Goulburn, Cooma and as far as Gundagai for residents to be able to enter the ACT to visit family, for work or essential shopping.

While ACT residents are still not able to enter NSW unless for essential reasons, Chief Minister Andrew Barr says travel to Sydney and the NSW south coast is likely to be possible by November.

Chief Minister Barr (pictured) confirmed the territory will come out of lockdown at midnight on Thursday while cross-border areas are expanded

Chief Minister Barr (pictured) confirmed the territory will come out of lockdown at midnight on Thursday while cross-border areas are expanded

Travel restrictions for Canberrans going into NSW are expected to be in place by that point for only high-risk local government areas.

The ACT is also on track to have 99 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated, and is expected to reach the milestone by the end of November.

Currently, 98 per cent of over-12s have had a first dose and 72 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The ACT is set to reach a significant milestone by the end of October, having 90 per cent of residents having received both jabs (pictured, Parliament House in Canberra)

The ACT is set to reach a significant milestone by the end of October, having 90 per cent of residents having received both jabs (pictured, Parliament House in Canberra)

The ACT is set to reach the milestone of 90 per cent of its eligible residents being fully vaccinated for Covid-19 by the end of the month. 

Chief Minister Barr said Canberra was on track to be one of the most vaccinated cities in the world, as the government’s largest vaccination clinic expanded to include walk-up appointments. 

As the ACT heads towards the end of its lockdown on Friday, Mr Barr said there would be a renewed focus during the next four days to distribute first doses to the remaining unvaccinated sections of the population.

Canberra reported 32 new cases on Monday, with 25 of those linked to known cases (Pictured, a Moderna vaccine being loaded in Canberra)

Canberra reported 32 new cases on Monday, with 25 of those linked to known cases (Pictured, a Moderna vaccine being loaded in Canberra)

The government’s mass-vaccine clinic at the Australian Institute of Sport will take walk-up appointments, while further pop-up clinics will also be established.

‘The next four days are about those remaining first doses, and with the interval of three or four weeks we’re looking forward to see the fully vaccinated figures match the first-dose figures,’ Mr Barr said.

‘What this means is Canberra will be among the most vaccinated places in the world, and this is just so critical to our economic recovery and to protect Canberrans as we emerge from lockdown.’

The ACT on Monday became the first jurisdiction to pass more than 70 per cent double-dose vaccination for people aged 12 and over, with 98 per cent having had a first dose. 

Mr Barr said the ACT’s vaccination rates had defied expectations.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the nation's capital is on track to be the most vaccinated city in the world (pictured, Minister Barr speaking to the media)

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the nation’s capital is on track to be the most vaccinated city in the world (pictured, Minister Barr speaking to the media)

‘No one believed that we would get here,’ he said.

‘We should be ambitious about the national vaccination program, but none of the modelling was based on 90, 95 or 99 per cent coverage, but would much rather be there than at 70 per cent.’ 

ACT health authorities have said the number of Covid-19 cases associated with the outbreak has risen to 1262, with 806 of those having recovered.

The territory’s chief health officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, said of the total number of cases in the recent Canberra outbreak, 72 per cent were unvaccinated, 17 per cent had just one dose and 11 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Breakthrough cases, where a patient developed Covid more than two weeks after becoming fully vaccinated, made up eight per cent of cases.

Dr Coleman said there had also been a number of cases linked to people sharing vaping devices.

She said the territory was in a good position to come out of lockdown on Friday.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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