Covid lockdown to end in Australian capital

Andrew Barr, the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), on Tuesday confirmed its strict coronavirus lockdown will end on Friday amid the ongoing third wave of the pandemic.

Barr announced that stay-at-home restrictions for Canberra residents will be lifted as planned at midnight on Thursday night, marking an end to lockdown in the Australia’s capital after 64 days, reports Xinhua news agency.

From Friday, restaurants, cafes, bars, non-essential retail, hairdressers and personal care services in Canberra will reopen subject to density limits.

Up to 25 Canberra locals will be allowed to gather outdoors and up to five people will be allowed to visit another household.

Barr said Covid-19 case numbers would rise as lockdown ends but that 72 per cent of over 12-year-olds in the ACT are now fully vaccinated against the virus.

“Our first dose levels indicate that this will reach close to 99 per cent fully vaccinated towards the end of November,” he told reporters.

“Case numbers are expected to increase as restrictions are eased. But being fully vaccinated provides you with protection.”

On Tuesday, Australia reported 1,854 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases, the fewest since late September, as the country continues to battle the third wave.

The new cases increased the overall infection tally to 131,415, while the death toll stood at 1,461.

So far, about 82.4 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have received one Covid vaccine dose and 62.4 per cent were fully vaccinated, according to the latest data released by the Department of Health.