The ACT government will scrap its regular daily COVID-19 press conferences from Friday and authorities will place less emphasis on case numbers.
The standard 11.45am COVID update that Canberrans have come to expect will instead be replaced with ad hoc press conferences, and cases numbers will be communicated through online channels.
Changes have already started to take place.
Eager viewers who tuned into Chief Minister Andrew Barr's regular press conference at 11.45am on Monday were left confused when there were no details about case numbers and hospitalisations.
Instead, Mr Barr used the update to boast about the success of the AIS Arena's mass vaccination clinic, and announced it would be opened to walk-in vaccine appointments.
Case numbers had already been emailed to journalists, and had been posted on ACT government social media channels.
Mr Barr did not address the change in his opening remarks, but when asked he confirmed the case numbers would now be released before the daily update.
It was a dramatic shift, as Mr Barr had started every previous COVID-19 press conference by announcing the number of new cases.
It also followed the lack of an ACT COVID press conference on Sunday, the first time the briefing had been skipped in 59 days.
This might be the Chief Minister's way of preparing the community for a surge in cases that is expected to come as the city reopens. But Mr Barr hopes the safety net of vaccines can combat this.
He will bank on fully vaccinated people getting less severe instances of the illness.
"The vaccination program does all the heavy lifting; that was how it was always intended to be in making this transition," he said.
"We are particularly focused, obviously, on keeping case numbers as low as possible - but this disease is going to become endemic in our community.
"There will be hundreds and hundreds of cases, but the vaccines will prevent serious illnesses.
"And you just need to see what's happening in NSW and Victoria to know there aren't many people in intensive care who are fully vaccinated.
"But you can still, of course, have a breakthrough infection. So fully vaccinated people can still get the virus, can carry it with them for days and transmit it to others."
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The ACT's change in reporting COVID-19 cases accompanied the same move in NSW.
Former premier Gladys Berejiklian had announced last month that the state's scheduled daily press conference would stop.
However, the premier or NSW health authorities still held press conferences most days. It was only really after there was a change in the state's leadership last week that the practice changed.
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