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Australia extends Canberra lockdown by one month

The lockdown in place in the Australian capital, Canberra, has been extended until mid-October.

Canberra’s 400,000 residents have already been forced to stay indoors for a month after the city’s first case of COVID-19 was detected. The outbreak, linked to the delta variant, remains limited, with 252 active cases so far and 276 people recovered.

The head of the Australian Capital Territory government, Andrew Barr, said the authorities aim to continue doing everything they can to reduce transmission of the virus and vaccinate as many people as possible. “This is the surest way to go, it will make it possible to have a risk-free birthday, summer vacation and 2022,” he said at a press conference.

The vaccination campaign has accelerated in recent months, especially among millions of people trapped in the southeast, such as Sydney and Melbourne, the two most populous cities.

State and federal leaders agreed last week on a national roadmap for lifting restrictions and reopening borders when the full immunization rate for people reaches between 70 and 80 percent. Since the start of the pandemic, Australia has recorded more than 75,000 cases of Covid-19 and nearly 1,100 casualties.

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