This is a statement from ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr on his government's decision to put the territory into lockdown.
The ACT will enter a seven day lockdown from 5pm tonight (Thursday). This decision is a result of a positive COVID-19 case in the territory who has been infectious whilst in the community, and positive wastewater detections. We currently do not know the source of the infection.
This is by far the most serious public health risk the ACT has faced in the past 12 months, and that's why the ACT is introducing a strict lockdown in response to this positive case.
We have said throughout the outbreak in Greater Sydney that we would act quickly and decisively. We have seen that a short and immediate lockdown limits the potential spread of the virus, and is the best path to avoiding longer and more damaging lockdowns.
This will be the first time that the ACT has entered a lockdown of this nature since the early days of the pandemic.
During this time Canberrans, are being asked to only leave their homes for essential reasons - essential employment, healthcare (including a COVID-19 vaccination), essential groceries and supplies and up to one hour of outdoor exercise.
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General retail will be closed, and hospitality venues will only be able to operate takeaway services. We will be asking any businesses that has to remain open to actively prevent any browsing in their stores.
Now more than ever, the use of the Check In CBR app is critical when leaving your home.
We know from what we are seeing around Australia that the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is highly infectious, and life threatening. For the sake of your health, your families health and for the health of the community - it's critical that Canberrans take every precaution they can over the coming days.
That includes mandatory mask wearing, which will be reintroduced in the ACT. It includes good hand hygiene and keeping your distance from other people. We are asking people to not have any family gatherings and do not have parties with friends. During this seven day period, Canberrans should only be interacting with other people in your household.
We are also urging Canberrans to get tested for any COVID-19 symptoms. A new testing clinic is being set up and will be available later today at the Brindabella Business Park, and capacity and operating hours will be significantly increased at the Weston Creek Walk-In Centre and EPIC drive through clinic. If you are contacted by ACT Health as a close contact, please get tested as soon as possible.
We expect demand for testing to increase, and there is likely to be longer waiting times at each of these clinics. We are asking Canberrans to be patient - it's really important to get tested if you have any symptoms given the increased risk in the Territory.
Further details will be available shortly on the COVID-19 website and on ACT Health social media accounts. There will be direct communication with stakeholder groups, including local businesses and schools.
- Andrew Barr is the ACT Chief Minister