The coronavirus lockdown in the Australian capital has been extended for two weeks as the country continued to battle the third wave of COVID-19 infections.
On Tuesday morning, Australia reported 1,253 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, 1,164 of which were from New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state with Sydney as the capital city.
Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 76 new local cases. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) reported another 13 new local cases, taking the total number of active cases in the territory to 242.
Seven of the ACT new cases have been linked to previous cases or exposure sites and four were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.
Canberra's strict lockdown was due to end on Thursday but Chief Minister of ACT Andrew Barr announced on Tuesday that it will now end on Sept. 17 at the earliest.
"Today's headline case numbers show that we are bending the curve down and we are getting on top of the outbreak. However, it is a slow process and it will take more time," Barr said.
Under the extended restrictions, people are asked to continue to stay at home and minimize close contact with others outside of their households to reduce the transmission potential of the virus.
However, there will be some amendments to restrictions, including for lower-risk outdoor activities.
From Thursday afternoon, residents in Canberra who work mostly outdoors such as gardeners will be allowed to return to work. The daily outdoor exercise limit will be increased from one to two hours and up to five people will be allowed to gather outdoors.
ACT schools will continue with remote learning and some businesses will remain closed.
Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said the extension was the "best decision" to keep the capital safe.