Three COVID-19 cases emerge in ACT linked to Victoria

Michael Weaver and Dominic Giannini 8 July 2020 28

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT has recorded its first cases of COVID-19 in more than a month, with three new cases emerging during the past 24 hours.

The three cases are all in the same household and are directly linked to the second wave of the virus in Victoria.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said although the risk of community transmission is low, 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 should be extra vigilant.

Dr Coleman says the new cases will likely lead to the postponement of the next stage of eased restrictions, which were scheduled for this Friday (10 July).

At this stage, there are no plans to impose stricter restrictions.

“We are not seeing evidence of community transmission in Canberra,” Dr Coleman said. “It is unlikely that we will see it in the next few days so we will need to monitor this for at least a fortnight to see what is happening in the ACT.”

An update to Canberra’s testing regime has also been flagged for the next few days.

The three new COVID-19 cases are one female and two males aged in their 20s. Two of the individuals arrived in the ACT from a Melbourne hotspot on Thursday (2 July) and the other is a household contact.

A small number of close contacts have been identified and are being managed in accordance with the national guidelines, ACT Health said. Travellers, including returning ACT residents, must self-quarantine if they have returned from Victoria under next restrictions that were imposed on Monday (6 July).

Although the self-isolation regime is being left up to the individual to organise and does not include mandatory quarantining in hotels like international arrivals, Dr Coleman maintained that the risk of disobedience was low with good home quarantine compliance.

“It is actually easier for people staying in quarantine at home rather than doing it in a hotel,” Dr Coleman said.

“We have a compliance plan that identified a range of risk profiles for different people in the community and there is a range of checks that are being done. There will be several [tests] done per person.

“We are confident the risk to the broader ACT community is low,” Dr Coleman said.

However, testing will not be compulsory for people who have returned from Melbourne or COVID -19 hotspots before the mandatory isolation measures were put in place.

“A negative result does not actually tell us anything,” Dr Coleman said. “You can incubate the infection for a full 14-days before you have symptoms so if I had been in Melbourne five days ago and had a test done, it does not mean I won’t be infected sometime in the next week or so.

“There is really no point in making it mandatory to be tested unless you have symptoms.”

From 12.01 am today (8 July), the ACT has closed its borders for anyone travelling into the ACT from Victoria, unless you have an exemption to enter.

ACT residents are approved to return to their home, subject to entering quarantine for a period of 14 days from the day after leaving Victoria. ACT residents must notify ACT Health of their intention to enter the ACT.

Around 200 exemptions have already been applied for as of midday Wednesday (8 July), most of whom are returning ACT residents.

Details are available on the COVID-19 website. Quarantine checks will be made in partnership with ACT Policing.

The news comes as a Victorian teenager has also tested positive for COVID-19 while on a South Coast holiday.

The teenager and his family were tested for COVID-19 before heading to Merimbula. They were told the tests were negative but when they arrived in NSW they were told the teenage boy’s test was actually positive. The family is currently isolating in Merimbula.

“Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should attend one of our testing centres to be tested,” Dr Coleman said.

“This is why we have implemented new Public Health Directions that restrict travel to the ACT from Victoria. It is also a critical reminder that no one should be travelling to Victoria except for absolutely essential reasons,” said Dr Coleman.

The ACT Government also has a helpline to assist Canberrans through the challenges of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Helpline is 02 6207 7244 and is open between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm daily.

This brings the ACT’s total to 111 positive tests for COVID-19. The number of negative tests in the ACT is now 33,115.

What's Your Opinion?

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28 Responses to Three COVID-19 cases emerge in ACT linked to Victoria
O L O L 9:53 am 09 Jul 20

I’d be more worried about the eight inbound commercial passenger flights arriving in Canberra today. Who is so important they must fly at the moment?

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:49 pm 09 Jul 20

    Isn’t Canberra about to host hundreds of Chinese students? They will be flying direct here I understand and then straight into quarantine.

Melanie Akhurst Melanie Akhurst 5:38 pm 08 Jul 20

Third term in schools may be ending????? Poor teachers and families, home learning not as satisfying. Take care y'all

Rob Tomsen Rob Tomsen 5:18 pm 08 Jul 20

Where were they Sunday

    Kate Cuthbert Kate Cuthbert 5:41 pm 08 Jul 20

    Rob Tomsen hopefully at home maybe doing the right thing 😒

    Rob Tomsen Rob Tomsen 5:50 pm 08 Jul 20

    Kate Cuthbert Yes but y did they go out Monday

    Andrea Kerr Andrea Kerr 7:58 am 09 Jul 20

    Rob Tomsen one went to work at the Canberra centre and has caused the opening of a new store to be delayed .

    Kate Cuthbert Kate Cuthbert 7:59 am 09 Jul 20

    Rob Tomsen because they are selfish?? 🙄

Bryan Woodford Bryan Woodford 4:15 pm 08 Jul 20

Well done to the three that presented for testing! Responsible Citizens.

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 4:17 pm 08 Jul 20

    2 came from Victoria and didn't self isoloate

    Bryan Woodford Bryan Woodford 4:20 pm 08 Jul 20

    Kathryn Ingram well that's not good.

    Sam McCracken Sam McCracken 5:55 pm 08 Jul 20

    Bryan Woodford not very responsible of them to come here in the first place knowing they were from a hot spot and not self isolate but instead wander freely around the Fyshwick Markets and Belconnen mall

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:31 pm 08 Jul 20

    Kathryn Ingram they were not required too. They came back one day before self isolation from hot spots was mandated.

Sue Ellen Sue Ellen 3:08 pm 08 Jul 20

Why would transmission of a highly contagious virus in a busy food market be low? It wasn't in Wuhan.

    Heidi Tunks Heidi Tunks 3:13 pm 08 Jul 20

    Sue Ellen they're concerned that its a crowd of people and covid 19 is an airborne virus

    Jackie White Jackie White 4:10 pm 08 Jul 20

    Maybe they weren't symptomatic at that point.

    Sue Ellen Sue Ellen 5:16 pm 08 Jul 20

    Heidi Tunks It also lives on surfaces for up to 3 days _ longer in the fridge or freezer.

    Andrew Logan Andrew Logan 2:17 am 09 Jul 20

    Heidi, not proven yet and only in lab conditions which is far from real world

Brett Psaila Brett Psaila 2:49 pm 08 Jul 20

Hannah Stares don’t get to excited about Friday just yet 😳

Zahidul Alam Zahidul Alam 2:47 pm 08 Jul 20

Slack and irresponsible...well lets stuff up the economy once more 👍

    Tim Cole Tim Cole 2:57 pm 08 Jul 20

    Zahidul Alam of course. Never mind the people.

    Michael Bond Michael Bond 3:30 pm 08 Jul 20

    Tim Cole wake up! Its bad for both people and the economy. Got a Gov job have we mate? No need to attack people for mentioning how devastating it is to loose your business. This is bad for us all.

    Tim Cole Tim Cole 3:34 pm 08 Jul 20

    Without people we all have nothing. No people to purchase goods or services. But hey, it's all about the economy. #EconomistsMatter

    Zahidul Alam Zahidul Alam 5:06 pm 08 Jul 20

    Tim Cole but it also mostly affects People..and their livelihoods...dont want to imagine not being able to have a job to provide for a family..

    Steven Kreusser Steven Kreusser 7:13 pm 08 Jul 20

    Tim Cole for every person we ‘save’ due to lockdown, 6 lose their job. This absolutely should be about sustainable economy over people.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:49 pm 08 Jul 20

    Steven Kreusser Correct, let people die and some suffer long term health effects. (More is emerging about how nasty this virus is.) Put the economy before human beings. Pleased you have risen above caring how many people suffer from this virus. Economy first.

    Angie Fearon Angie Fearon 8:02 am 09 Jul 20

    Steven citation requured.

    Also, what is the cost for every life lost? A family in mourning & an associated economic effect.

Kirsten Cameron Kirsten Cameron 2:47 pm 08 Jul 20

David Grady good thing we didn’t go to the markets on Saturday 😳

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