Roadmap won't stop COVID uncertainty: ACT

© Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Chief Minister Andrew Barr is set to release a roadmap next week towards the ACT’s reopening.

Having a roadmap out of lockdown won’t alleviate the uncertainty facing Australia as it stops trying to eliminate COVID-19, ACT health officials warn.

Canberra recorded 16 new cases on Thursday, taking the territory’s active infection count to 211.

Lockdown is slated to run until October 15, but more information about the path out is set to be released next week.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Vanessa Johnston has cautioned a roadmap to reopening might not mean much amid continued uncertainty about how a suppression approach will pan out.

“It’s appropriate to highlight the role that uncertainty at a wider level plays on all of us,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“That’s not necessarily also going to be resolved with the roadmap or the pathway forward because Australia, you know, is in for a new experience moving from elimination to community suppression.”

Dr Johnston acknowledged the community wanted more information about the circumstances under which authorities were prepared to end lockdown.

But she said it was important to get it right and noted reopening plans in NSW and Victoria were heavily caveated. 


Video: NSW Covid19 overview (ABC NEWS)

“They’ve also been experiencing their lockdowns, or in the case of Victoria multiple lockdowns, over a much longer period of time,” she said.

Canberra’s lockdown stretched from seven days to three weeks and then nine weeks.

Authorities have been progressively allowing some small freedoms, accepting elimination in the ACT is unlikely.

But Chief Minister Andrew Barr remains under pressure to provide more certainty about what local conditions need to look like to end lockdown. 

He has stressed the need for the highest possible vaccination coverage, lowest number of new daily cases and fewest hospitalisations.

Of the latest cases, seven are linked and none were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.

A dozen patients, including two from NSW, are in hospital. Two people are in intensive care requiring ventilation.

The ACT’s vaccination rate continues to lead the country, with slightly more than 58 per cent of residents aged 16 and older double-dosed.

Moderna dose bookings have opened for residents aged between 16 and 59 following the arrival of anticipated doses in Canberra. 

Fewer than a third of residents between the ages of 16 and 39 are fully vaccinated. The proportion of over-40s double-dosed exceeds 80 per cent.

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