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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1232 ..

Over the past several weeks we have seen COVID-19 cases rise in many parts of the world. Concerningly, in late April we saw new peaks in global daily cases since the pandemic began, largely driven by the situation unfolding in India. It is distressing to see the terrible impact this is having in these communities and the intense pressure placed on health systems which are struggling to cope.

Our thoughts are with India, Nepal and all countries dealing with the stress of rising cases at this time. The commonwealth government is facilitating a shipment of emergency medical supplies to India, including personal protective equipment and medical equipment to help address their critical oxygen shortages. I know this situation is extremely distressing for Australian citizens and residents who have family and friends in India and other countries that are seeing waves of new COVID cases.

Our thoughts are with those Indian, Nepalese and other communities who are experiencing loss and anxiety as the global pandemic spreads. As at 9 May 2021, there have been more than 157 million confirmed cases, including over 3.2 million deaths, reported to the World Health Organisation.

Across Australia, the situation remains relatively stable, with most jurisdictions, including the ACT, operating under eased “COVID normal” public health restrictions. While the situation is optimistic, we must continue to be cautious, as we expect to see continued outbreaks and instances of community transition. Over recent weeks there have been two instances of community transmission infection linked to hotel quarantine in Western Australia and the identification of new community acquired cases in New South Wales which are currently under investigation to determine if there is a missing link in transition linked to hotel quarantine.

The ACT has responded to these new Sydney cases, particularly in response to people who have been in exposure locations and source investigation locations, by placing restrictions on entry to high-risk facilities in the ACT. We continue to plan for the likelihood of these events as we know that the virus is difficult to contain and can spread even from very tightly controlled quarantine settings, and the lessons are continually being applied.

In the ACT I am pleased to report that we are doing an excellent job in maintaining COVID-19 suppression, and there continues to be no evidence of community transmission. Presently, there are no active cases in the ACT, with our total number of cases at 124, and three deaths earlier in the pandemic.

On 28 April 2021 a new case of COVID-19 was detected in a man in his 50s, a diplomat, who returned to the ACT on 25 April. This individual flew into Sydney international airport and travelled to Canberra by private vehicle on the same day. He did not stop en route to the ACT and remained in home quarantine following his return. The individual followed all quarantine measures for returning overseas travellers and was supported by ACT Health. Three close contacts identified also entered quarantine and have followed the instructions of our public health officers. ACT Health deemed there to be no risk to the public and there were no further

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