COVID outbreak sweeps parliament



COVID has broken out in Parliament in Canberra, with at least five federal MPs testing positive for the virus during that sitting week.

The new daily understands a pathology team has been sent to parliament to test MPs amid concerns of a mini-outbreak that has hit both main parties.

Triple-vaccinated Labor MP Pat Conroy was the latest MP to announce his positive test on social media on Thursday.

He said he had “very minor symptoms,” including a runny nose, and was following ACT Health instructions in self-isolating.

“I’m not more concerned about any other workplace in the country,” he said. The new daily.

“We should just follow the health advice and that’s what happened.”

Queensland Labor MP and caucus secretary Anika Wells announced on Wednesday that she was contagious, prompting officials to order everyone who attended this week’s ALP caucus meeting to get tested.

Ms Wells also sat in the chamber of the House of Representatives before returning a positive test.

“I am double vaxxed with a reminder and will follow instructions from ACT Health,” she tweeted.

“Stay safe out there everyone.”

Ms Wells has toddler twins, although it is unclear if they were in Canberra with her this week.

Coalition MPs, including Kevin Hogan of the Nationals and Assistant Highway Safety and Freight Transportation Minister Scott Buchholz, also tested positive.

Mr Hogan said he had a rapid antigen test after waking up on Tuesday morning with a “slight tickling” in his throat.

“Since then I have been following ACT Health isolation orders,” he tweeted.

“I’ve had shots and a booster and luckily the symptoms have been very mild so far.”

Nationals deputy chief David Littleproud tested positive on Sunday after waking up feeling unwell.

“I had shots and a booster and will now comply with ACT health orders,” he tweeted.

The New Daily has contacted the services of the Sergeants-at-Arms of Parliament for comment.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Defense Minister Peter Dutton have already tested positive for the virus.

The ACT confirmed another 537 cases of COVID on Thursday, bringing the total number of active infections in the territory to 2,565.

That number has dropped since the ACT’s Omicron outbreak peaked in January.

Nearly 99% of the ACT population is double vaccinated, while 62.9% received a booster shot.

On Monday, reporters from the New Zealand Parliamentary Press Gallery were barred from attending a press conference after a journalist tested positive for the virus.

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