23 October 2020

No new COVID-19 cases, diplomat's close contacts identified

| Dominic Giannini
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Dr Kerryn Coleman

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman says the ACT’s quarantine program is working as it should be. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT has recorded no new cases of COVID-19, a day after a diplomat who returned from overseas tested positive.

ACT Health has now contacted two close contacts of the man in his 70s and they are following the advice of public health officers, ACT Health said.

While the risk of transmission from the case remains low, more positive cases are expected as people continue to return from overseas in the coming months, ACT Health said.

READ MORE Canberra records first COVID-19 case in three months

The ACT’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, said while Canberra has a larger proportion of diplomats quarantining than other cities, it does not present a higher risk to the community.

“We do the same assessment for diplomats as we do for anyone else who is going into home quarantine,” she said. “If they have family or staff who have quarantined with them, then they are subject to exactly the same quarantine rules.

“This is a demonstration that our quarantine program is doing exactly what we want it to do. These are not the cases we are concerned about. The cases we are concerned about are the ones that are locally acquired or potentially evidence of community transmission.”

Addressing the media after National Cabinet today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia will aim to repatriate all 26,000 overseas Australians who want to return home before Christmas.

National Cabinet agreed to raise the cap of international arrivals to make this happen, with “continued support” being offered in the ACT.

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