Date: 16 March 2022
Due to the continuing COVID-19 situation on mainland Australia and now also in the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT), the Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, the Honourable Nola Marino MP, is extending the declared states of emergency (SoE) in Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) up until 30 June 2022.
We now have active COVID cases in the IOT. The IOT COVID-19 subcommittee and the IOT Health Service are working together to manage this evolving situation, with the health and wellbeing of our communities and visitors remaining our first priority.
As the recent positive cases have shown, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a significant concern for CI and CKI. Despite our very high vaccination rates, our remote location and limited medical facilities make the region vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
Supported by the Territory Controllers, I continually review the need for the state of emergency declarations. This extension will provide certainty for the community and businesses, and will support decisions and arrangements for the safety and protection of everyone in the IOT.
We have had an excellent response across CI and CKI for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, and have now achieved an 80 per cent rate for booster doses as well. If you have not yet received a booster dose and you are eligible, I urge you to do so as soon as possible to ensure you have the highest possible protection against getting seriously sick or hospitalised due to COVID-19.
As the Chair of the IOT COVID-19 subcommittee, I would like to thank the members, including the Territory Controllers, for their hard work and commitment during this ongoing situation, as well as our health service staff and each one of you for your support and efforts to protect our community.
Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands