News State ACT News Canberra records one new COVID-19 case, a returned diplomat
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Canberra records one new COVID-19 case, a returned diplomat

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith says the risk to the community is low. Photo: ABC News/Matt Roberts
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A returned diplomat in quarantine has become the ACT’s latest case of COVID-19.

The man, in his 30s, entered Australia on Sunday and travelled to Canberra by private vehicle.

“This is a returned diplomat who has been in quarantine. There are two close contacts identified who are also in quarantine,” ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said.

“The risk to the ACT community from this individual is a very low risk.”

The man’s wife, and the driver who took him from Sydney International Airport to Canberra are both isolating.

The man is the 115th case in the ACT, and the only active case.

Public health emergency extended to February

Ms Stephen-Smith also announced an extension of the current public health emergency well into next year.

“Yesterday I signed the notifiable instrument to extend the public health emergency in the ACT under the Public Health Act,” she said.

“That has now been extended for a further 90 days, from the 19th of November to the 17th of February.

“The public health emergency declaration is what empowers the Chief Health Officer to make directions and to take decisions to protect the health of Canberrans in the face of this global pandemic.”

Ms Stephen-Smith also urged Canberrans against becoming complacent.

“Until there is a vaccine … we will be living with COVID-19, and we all need to take responsibility for that,” she said.

“So again, reminding people, and I’m sure the South Australian situation has reminded people, that everybody has a role to play in terms of responding to this global pandemic, keeping up those good habits we’ve built up, and being a little bit patient in terms of the restriction that are still in place.

“We are doing very well in the ACT but we don’t want to put that at risk by being complacent”

South Australia situation being closely monitored

Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT “continues to closely monitor the situation in South Australia”.

At least 20 confirmed and 14 suspected COVID-19 cases have now been linked to SA’s growing cluster.

“Additional exposure sites in South Australia are being identified as the SA contact tracing and investigations go forward,” she said.

“Anyone who has been in South Australia in the last 14 days and is now in the ACT, please check in regularly with the SA Health website to understand what those locations are, and what you need to do if you’ve been in one of those locations.

“That might be immediately isolate and get tested. It might be monitor your health symptoms. But it’s really incumbent on anyone who has been in South Australia to pay very close attention to what is going on.”

Canberrans have also been asked to reconsider their need to travel to South Australia.

“If you had travel planned, please reconsider the need for any non-essential travel,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“Please do not travel to South Australia unless you absolutely have to.

“Similarly, if you had family and friends visiting you from South Australia, please ask them to defer their visit until we understand better what is going on in South Australia.

“It is really important, right across the country, that we minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT and NSW are “not closing their borders at this time”.

ABC