While, as Chief Minister Andrew Barr was quick to acknowledge on Tuesday, the extension of the lockdown by another four weeks was not what any Canberrans wanted to hear, few would have been surprised.
With daily case numbers still in the double digits and regular reinfections in the territory from NSW and Victoria it would have been irresponsible to bring Canberra out of lockdown on Friday.
The call also took into account Yass Valley's return to lockdown and the unfortunate fact at least 13 of Monday's 22 new cases had been in the community while infectious.
While Canberra's lockdown appears to have been effective in controlling the spread, which is not yet at the alarming rates seen in NSW and Victoria, the reinfection rate is still unacceptably high. A major relaxation of restrictions would almost certainly have led to an explosion in case numbers.
The news is not all bad, however. Canberra's hospitalisations are about one-fifth of those in NSW on a per capita basis. Four and half weeks into the ACT lockdown there have been no deaths. Only one Canberran is on a ventilator. This is in stark contrast to NSW which, with a population roughly 19 times the size, has 104 patients who require assistance to breathe.
Given our lockdown will now last at least nine weeks until October 15, some "Ken Behrens" will benefit from small tweaks to the lockdown regulations announced on Tuesday.
These include permitting outdoor sports such as golf, tennis and rowing so long as no more than five people are taking part; allowing the resumption of real estate inspections on a restricted basis; and increasing the number of people allowed to work in a "click and collect" small business from two to five. The changes take effect from midnight on Friday.
That said, there is no getting away from the fact that the extension - and the lack of any significant initiatives that would, for example, make life easier for children missing extended family members and school friends - means this was a particularly demoralising day for households already experiencing significant lockdown fatigue.
Even small things, such as permitting slightly greater numbers of people to gather for picnics, which might allow an extended family or two households to meet outdoors, or finding ways for double-jabbed grandparents to have some ability to see their grandkids, would make a huge difference presumably without carrying an undue level of risk.
The likely psychological impact on young Canberrans will be exacerbated by the news that, with the exception of years 11 and 12, there is no indication of when classroom teaching will resume. All other students will continue remote learning for at least the first four weeks of term 4, which begins on October 5.
Year 12 students return to on campus learning from the start of term 4, and year 11 students return on October 18.
While much is being made of suggestions a recent run of relatively low case numbers in NSW indicates that state's outbreak may have peaked, it is too early to say. Ms Berejiklian has repeatedly said the peak was not expected until mid-October. NSW testing rates have fallen off significantly since the end of August.
With the ACT government now having switched to the goal of zero active cases infectious in the community (rather than zero cases) Canberra's best hope for ending the lockdown remains vaccination.
Yes, the Chief Minister's statement "a highly vaccinated Canberra is a safer Canberra" is a truism. But that doesn't make it any less true, nor the task any less urgent.
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