Canberra has recorded another nine coronavirus infections as Chief Minister Andrew Barr rules out ending the ACT’s lockdown early.
Seven people are in hospital with the virus, including an unvaccinated woman in her 40s who requires ventilation.
Mr Barr won’t end the ACT’s lockdown before 2 September as the overall caseload grows to 176.
But he is looking at tweaking next week’s restrictions. The changes will be announced before the weekend.
Whether the lockdown extends depends on the number of people infectious in the community and whether cases can be linked.
“We will come out of this gently, week-by-week as we continue to get our vaccination rate up,” the chief minister told reporters on Wednesday.
Nationally, he didn’t expect a key 80 per cent vaccination threshold to be reached until the end of November.
“The challenge for Canberra is how many more of us can we protect through vaccination between now and then,” he said.
Mr Barr foreshadowed movement across borders being much more free at the back end of the year and into 2022.
Among the ACT’s nine new infections is a person with a disability, taking the number of cases in that sector to 18, including support workers.
Eight of Wednesday’s cases are linked and two live with people already infected. Four of the new cases were out and about while infectious.
Two of seven infected hospital patients are there because of other health conditions and not COVID-19.
Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said the unvaccinated woman is in a critical condition.
Children comprise 38 per cent of the ACT’s overall cases, while 46 per cent are adults under the age of 45.
More than 17,000 residents aged between 16 and 29 have registered for a Pfizer vaccination as the territory awaits additional supplies.
Mr Barr stressed AstraZeneca was more readily available and urged people to consider it.
The virus was confirmed to have passed between people at 10 public locations across the ACT.
This included Lyneham High School, linked to 40 cases.
Fiction nightclub in the city was linked to 31 cases and the Southern Cross Basketball Stadium at Greenway to 33.
A Lennock Jaguar dealership at Phillip was associated with 15 cases, the Downer Community centre with 12 and Bright Bees Childcare at Nicholls with 10.
Health officials are still trying to pin down a source for eight cases including the one that sparked the lockdown.