ACT COVID death as 46 new cases reported

The ACT has recorded another death from COVID-19, taking the toll to seven in the current outbreak.
The ACT has recorded another death from COVID-19, taking the toll to seven in the current outbreak.

The ACT's path out of lockdown will need to be careful and gradual, the territory's chief minister says, ahead of restrictions easing in Canberra on Friday.

Andrew Barr indicated attention will shift to increasing the number of Canberrans who are fully vaccinated, saying the territory's health system will be able to withstand a surge in COVID-19 cases once the lockdown ends.

While some businesses and retail will not be able to reopen to the public until the end of November, Mr Barr said the reopening plan was "world leading".

"It puts public health first and ensures the safest activities are recommencing and the riskiest ones wait until more of the population is fully vaccinated," Mr Barr said.

The final full day of lockdown in the ACT saw 46 new cases reported, one of the highest single-day totals.

A man in his 80s also died at an aged care facility in Canberra's north, the seventh death in the current outbreak.

Of the new cases, 30 were linked to known cases and 22 of those were household contacts.

Some 18 of the 46 new cases were in quarantine for all of their infectious period, while 16 were assessed as being a risk of transmission to others.

Since the start of Canberra's lockdown, there have been 1359 cases, with 119 in hospital and 24 in intensive care.

Mr Barr said the end of the Canberra lockdown on Friday did not mean the end of COVID-19 in the territory.

"Tomorrow is not the end of the pandemic, the virus will continue to spread in the community but tomorrow is a step forward though," he said.

Health authorities have indicated that COVID case numbers will increase slightly but any rise was not likely to be dramatic.

Intensive care capacity could be scaled up if needed, with the ACT government investing in technology to minimise infection rates in hospitals.

The latest vaccine figures have shown 98.8 per cent of eligible residents over 12 have received a first dose and 74.7 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

"The statistic that matters, and the one we are focusing on in coming weeks, is the percentage that is fully vaccinated," Mr Barr said.

"We want to see our world-leading first dose rate translate into a world-leading fully vaccinated rate."

Mr Barr said NSW was likely to make a decision on easing travel restrictions into the state in the next 24 hours.

The ending of the lockdown will also see travel ease between the ACT and Victoria.

Victoria's Deputy Premier James Merlino said the ACT would be reclassified from a red travel zone to an orange travel zone.

This means travellers from ACT will be able to enter Victoria with an exemption, but will have to isolate and get a COVID test within 72 hours of arrival and return a negative result.

Australian Associated Press