ACT records 12 new cases of COVID-19

The ACT has recorded 12 new local cases of COVID-19, eight of which were infectious in the community.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said six of the cases are linked and the remaining six are under investigation.

The state now has 13 people in hospital, four of which are in ICU and two are on ventilators including an unvaccinated man in his 20s who has no prior health conditions.

READ MORE: COVID patient overdoses on unproven drug Ivermectin

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

Mr Barr said the next three months presented a "challenging scenario" for the ACT.

He said he is encouraged by the number of ACT residents getting vaccinated but wanted to see higher testing rates.

The territory has become the first jurisdiction in Australia to hit 80 per cent full vaccination of people aged 75 to 79.

Mr Barr said the ACT desperately needs more Pfizer doses but has not received further supplies.

He urged residents aged 16 to 29 years who are not yet fully vaccinated to be extra vigilant during the pandemic.

There were 2500 tests conducted in the ACT yesterday, which Mr Barr said was just not enough.

He weighed in on the debate between state premiers and the Federal Government over reopening when a 70 per cent vaccination threshold is achieved.

Mr said 70 per cent is "no freedom day" and Australia should be targeting an 80 per cent or higher vaccination level.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said more research needed to be done about how opening communities would impact young children and Mr Barr echoed that.

The ACT has a relatively young population compared with other Australian jurisdictions.

The Delta outbreak in New South Wales continues to present a "considerable" threat for ACT residents, Mr Barr said. However he was encouraged by rising vaccination levels.

The higher figure will help protect ACT residents, he said.

Mr Barr said over the coming months some industry sectors in the ACT will either have restrictions on their maximum operating capacity, or they'll have no market.

Pedestrians outside the Canberra Centre.

He said some businesses, like tourism and hospitality, would need ongoing government support.

But that would be eased when the lockdown is lifted.

"I'm confident of a strong rebound for ACT economy once our population is fully vaccinated," Mr Barr said.

The ACT has banned visitors to hospitals unless there are in "exceptional" circumstances, such as pregnancy, end-of-life care, or for children.

Health staff will help patients connect with loved ones virtually.

To date, ACT Health has recruited 203 staff and an 191 additional nursing staff are expected to join over coming weeks.

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