16 July 2022

The National Cabinet met this morning (Saturday 16 July) to determine the next phase of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest COVID variant is driving this winter surge in case numbers, combined with the seasonal flu and other respiratory illnesses, it is placing pressure on the health system in every state and territory.

The National Cabinet encourages Australians to be mindful of how they can reduce the burden the pandemic is placing on sections of the community.

Right now, the objective is to flatten the curve as much as possible. With some simple measures, we can support vulnerable members of our community. These measures will also help protect our strained health system and keep important public services operational.

Following discussion and agreement at National Cabinet today, the ACT Government is encouraging and enacting the following measures:

The Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments will work together to extend a number of important initiatives that support these measures.

The continuation of Disaster Leave payments until 30 September will help many casual workers without sick leave entitlements with their isolation requirements, and the extension of Telehealth consultations will assist with expanded anti-viral access.

The ACT Government has also agreed to work with the Commonwealth to continue providing Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to Canberrans who can’t afford them.

COVID vaccines have proven to be highly effective in preventing severe illness.

In the ACT, although our weekly case numbers have increased, the number of people needing life-saving treatment has remained low.

Today is a further reminder that COVID will be with us for years.

Elimination of the virus has proven to be impossible and new strains of the virus will continue to reach Australia.

However, with vaccines that prevent a large number of people from needing life-saving healthcare, and public health measures that can manage the spread of the virus, we can maintain an effective response.