The ACT Public Health Emergency has been extended for a further 90 days, effective until 19 November, ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith announced overnight.
This decision has been made based on advice provided by the ACT Chief Health Officer, in light of the unfolding situation across Australia.
In a statement, Ms Stephen-Smith said the extension of the emergency declaration will enable the Chief Health Officer to continue to take any action, or give any direction, considered to be necessary to protect Canberrans from and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the ACT.
“It has been more than five weeks since the last COVID-19 case was recorded in the ACT, and three weeks since we have had an active case,” she said.
“Our testing numbers consistently remain high, with more than 67,000 negative tests now conducted since the start of the pandemic.
“While we are in a good position in the ACT, it is likely there will be further outbreaks in Australia in the coming weeks and months. We need to remain vigilant as we closely monitor the situation across the country and manage the risks these outbreaks present to the ACT.
“Our Recovery Plan is focused on minimising risk as restrictions are eased and putting in place appropriate measures to manage these risks as best as possible. There are no immediate plans to ease restrictions further at this time, but we will plan for future easing of restrictions when the situation supports that.
“We will continue to take a cautious, measured approach to protect the health and safety of Canberrans and our economy.
“COVID-19 has impacted our community greatly and we will support Canberrans through this, focusing on the economic and community recovery of our city as we respond to the evolving public health situation.
“We are continuing to ask Canberrans to maintain the behaviours we have all learnt over the past months – keep your physical distance, practice good hand hygiene and stay at home if you are unwell and get tested for any COVID-19 symptoms.
“It is in everyone’s interest to keep our city free of COVID-19 to the greatest possible extent and to prevent community transmission so that we can maintain our path to recovery and protect our most vulnerable community members,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.