9 July 2020

New COVID-19 case confirmed in the ACT, easing of restrictions postponed

| Dominic Giannini
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Nurse at Weston Clinic

There are four active COVID-19 cases in the ACT as of Thursday (9 July). Photo: ACT Health.

UPDATED 3:40 pm, 9 July: Another person has tested positive to COVID-19 in the ACT, leading the Chief Health Officer to postpone the easing of restrictions scheduled for Friday (10 July) for another two weeks.

Anyone who has visited Victoria, especially COVID-19 hotspots in the greater Melbourne area, in the last three weeks is being urged to stay at home and self-isolate for 14-days, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said*.

People who arrived after 7 am on 3 July and had been in a hotspot in the preceding 14-days or people who arrived after 12:01 am on 8 July and had been anywhere in Victoria in the previous 14-days are legally obliged to isolate for two weeks.

Entry to the ACT from Victoria is now banned unless travellers have a valid reason and acquire an exemption. Around 400 people have applied for exemptions so far and 168 Canberrans are currently quarantining themselves at home or in a hotel.

The new case has come a day after three people became the first cases in the Territory for a month, bringing the total number of active cases to four.

A man in his 20s who has tested positive is a close contact of yesterday’s cases, two of whom returned to Canberra from a Melbourne hotspot at the end of last week, and the third of whom was a housemate.

Dr Coleman said although the risk of community transmission is low, people who were at the Vodaphone store in Gungahlin between 3:00 pm and 3:30 pm on Monday, 6 July are being urged to stay vigilant and get tested at the slightest onset of symptoms.

This is in addition to those who were at the Fyshwick Markets on Saturday, 4 July between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm and Westfield Belconnen on Monday, 6 July between 12:00 pm and 12:30 pm which were visited by yesterday’s cases.

Dr Coleman said she will review the situation in two weeks’ time to see if the Territory is able to move to stage three of restrictions easing. Restrictions for contact community sports will be reviewed in one week.

The uncertainty around how the Victorian outbreak will affect the ACT has also led the Australian National University (ANU) and University of Canberra (UC) to postpone their plans to bring 350 international students back to Canberra under a pilot program.

The students were set to arrive in Canberra in late-July and would then have had to isolate themselves for 14-days before recommencing their semester two studies on-campus.

However, in a joint statement the universities said they would now hold off on the program until there is a clearer picture around the COVID-19 trajectory.

For further information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT please visit the ACT Government’s dedicated COVID- 19 website www.covid19.act.gov.au.

The ACT Government’s COVID-19 Helpline is also available and is open between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm daily on 6207 7244.

*Story has been updated after ACT Health clarified previous comments.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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