Statement: ACT Chief Minister

Released 27/03/2020

Today the National Cabinet met to further discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and to receive advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) on what next steps are needed.

The number of confirmed cases of the virus in the ACT continues to climb, as it does in other States and Territories.

These new cases are largely the result of people returning from overseas and bringing the virus with them. The decision made by the National Cabinet, following the advice from the AHPPC, to introduce mandatory quarantine of all returning travellers, is an important step to help prevent a rapid spread of the virus.

The ACT Government will work with Canberra Airport on the remaining international flights that will be arriving tomorrow. Any passengers on these flights who disembark at Canberra Airport will be required to go into a mandatory 14 day quarantine.

The Federal Government’s offer to provide Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel to State and Territory Governments to support the compliance of social isolation requirements is welcomed.

Right now, the ACT is monitoring hundreds of people that have been asked to self-isolate while they wait for testing, or they are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case.

Monitoring these contacts will continue to be an onerous task on our local police force, and the offer of help from the ADF will enable the Territory to more effectively ensure people are doing the right thing.

While at this stage, there are no further restrictions on business or activities based on the advice of the AHPPC, these may be required in the not too distant future.

The message to Canberrans this coming weekend is to stay at home. No weekend trips to the coast or Sydney or Melbourne. No house parties and no large family gatherings.

You should not be taking any risks right now of spreading the virus amongst your family, your friends, or your community.

I know many Canberra families who are leasing a property are very concerned about how they will continue to pay the rent should they lose their job.

The National Cabinet will continue to work on the appropriate mechanisms to ensure that people who have lost their job or their income due to this unprecedented situation will not be kicked out of their home. These families need assurances that they will be able to keep a roof over their head, particularly as we head into the winter months.

Next week, the ACT Government will be announcing further economic survival measures in the second phase of our response to support families who have lost income and protect as many jobs as possible.

These measures will be aligned with additional stimulus measures that will be announced by the Federal Government so that we are providing complimentary support for those that need it.

We will also be announcing more funding for our health system as our hospitals prepare for more patients over the coming weeks.

We know people will need help throughout this pandemic, and the ACT Government will be continuing to look at every lever we have to support our community.

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases

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