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Exercise Cumpston 06 begins.

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MEDIA RELEASE Minister for Health and Ageing

Tony Abbott MHR

16 October 2006 ABB138/06

Exercise Cumpston 06 begins

Exercise Cumpston 06, the largest health simulation exercise ever held in Australia to test preparedness for a pandemic influenza outbreak, begins today.

The exercise will take place between 16 and 19 October and will create scenarios simulating an international arrival at Brisbane airport containing two people infected with pandemic influenza.

Health and emergency services from all states will participate. Costing more than $4 million, Exercise Cumpston 06 is one of the largest pandemic influenza exercises held in the world. More than 1,000 people are participating.

The exercise will test Australia’s border control, quarantine and hospital plans as well as national and state level response arrangements in a pandemic influenza outbreak. Disease containment, including hospitalisation and quarantine arrangements, the deployment of antiviral drugs and the establishment of fever clinics, will be simulated.

Exercise Cumpston 06 will assess national and local surveillance and response systems, decision-making structures and coordination mechanisms.

There will also be a detailed communications exercise to test the appropriateness of media and public communications strategies and arrangements.

The Commonwealth Government has provided funding of $600 million since 2003 to protect Australians from potential outbreaks of human pandemic influenza and from the entry of bird flu into the country.

Media contact: Claire Kimball, Office of Tony Abbott, 0413 486 926 Kay McNiece, Department of Health and Ageing, 0412 132 585