27 September 2023

Emergency declaration extended

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Canberra’s public health emergency declaration relating to the Coronavirus threat has been extended until 7 July.

Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith said the extension would enable the Territory’s Chief Health Officer to continue with measures necessary to protect the community from the spread of COVID-19.

“The Chief Health Officer will provide further advice at 30-day intervals for the duration of the extension regarding the status of the emergency, and whether the declaration is still justified,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

She said if the emergency declaration was no longer justified it could be revoked prior to 7 July.

“COVID-19 continues to pose a public health risk to the ACT community and extending the ACT’s Public Health Emergency is a necessary step to help reduce the spread,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

She said ACT Health had increased its random tests for COVID-19, as confirmed cases of the virus in returned overseas travellers and close contacts of positive cases continued to drop.

Acting ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Vanessa Johnston said the extra testing being carried out added to the surveillance already in place to try and identify potential community transmission in the ACT.

“Community transmission is when we start to see a large number of locally acquired cases where a direct source of exposure cannot be identified,” Dr Johnston said.

“With some extra capacity created by declining demand for testing from groups that meet the criteria, we are now increasing the number of random tests to give us an even better view of potentially unidentified cases,” she said.

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