UPDATED: Sydney tour group causes Parliament House COVID-19 concern

Dominic Giannini 27 January 2021
Parliament House

Parliament House has been deep cleaned after a potential COVID-19 compliance breach. Photo: File.

UPDATED 5:30 pm: Parliament House has undergone a deep cleaning after an alleged COVID-19 compliance breach following a visit from a group of tourists from the banned Cumberland area in Sydney.

Non-residents who reside in, or have been to, the Cumberland local government area are not allowed to enter the ACT, while residents who have visited the area must quarantine for 14-days upon arrival due to potential community transmission of the virus, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said.

7News reported that the group also visited the War Memorial and spent up to three days in the capital, but ACT Policing said this afternoon (27 January) that the group entered and left the ACT on the same day and did not visit other locations.

ACT Health was notified by the COVID Taskforce at Parliament House this morning after the group completed a tour yesterday. They were asked for their postcodes at the conclusion of the tour. The visitors were not involved with the Invasion Day protest outside Parliament House yesterday.

An ACT Policing spokesperson confirmed it is investigating the incident after a referral from ACT Health.

“ACT Policing has been made aware of a possible breach of the ACT Health Direction in response to COVID-19 by visitors to Parliament House yesterday … [and] have made a number of enquiries,” the spokesperson said.

“ACT Policing would like to remind the community to follow all public health directions and COVID-19 protocols, including quarantine and self-isolation directions.”

ACT Health said the Chief Health Officer has advised that the potential breach is considered to be low risk from a public health perspective.

“This is on the basis that the situation in the Greater Sydney area has improved significantly,” the spokesperson said.

“The last case identified in the community was 10 days ago, the list of locations where exposure to a case is now very small and the most recent location of significant concern is from 15 January, and therefore the risk of exposure to an undiagnosed case of COVID-19 to the ACT community and staff within Parliament House is very low.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman indicated that she will be considering removing travel restrictions on the Cumberland LGA later this week due to the improving situation.

The public can report compliance breaches through the COVID-19 Helpline on 6207 7244 between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, seven days a week, or online here.


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