The ACT has recorded its first case of COVID-19 overnight after more than 100 days of no cases having been recorded in Canberra.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman this morning announced the new case is a returning diplomat currently quarantining in Canberra.
“Today I’m confirming that we do have the 114th case notified in the ACT. This person is a man in his 70s and he is a returned overseas traveller,” she said.
The confirmed case is a diplomat who arrived from overseas on 9 October, flew into Sydney airport and then travelled into Canberra by private vehicle without stopping en route.
“He has been quarantining since his return to the ACT and therefore we believe this is an overseas acquired infection.”
At this time, two contacts of the individual have been identified.
“Our contact tracing team is currently in the process of following them up,” Dr Coleman said.
“While we believe the risk to these two contacts is low, we are taking a very precautionary approach.”
The man had a COVID-19 test administered on the tenth day of his quarantine which returned a positive result.
“This new case demonstrates that our quarantine system here in the ACT is working well to protect the community,” Dr Coleman said.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said this new case is an important reminder to Canberrans that “we are not an isolated bubble from COVID-19”.
“We will continue to see the occasional new case, we’ve been saying that,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
“We’ve consistently had between 250 and just over 300 people in quarantine in the ACT. We currently have 276 people in quarantine that our health protection staff are supporting and monitoring.”
Dr Coleman advised that, on average, 20-25% of the people in quarantine can be diplomats.
“We absolutely know of every single diplomat who enters the ACT as we have a very strong relationship with the Commonwealth Government and DFAT,” she said.
“They enter into our quarantine support program and they are part of our police compliance checks as well as our wellbeing health checks every day.
“We have a very, very strong home quarantine model … we have an end-to-end very person-centric response which involves frequent contact with everyone in quarantine.”
Prior to today’s announcement, the ACT’s most recent COVID-19 case was recorded on 10 July.
On that occasion, it was a female in her 20s who was the fourth member of the household where three cases were living, which was linked to the outbreaks in Melbourne.
To date, there has been no community transmission recorded in the ACT.