2 January 2021

ACT toughens border restrictions with NSW

| Dominic Giannini
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Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman has signed a new public health direction for non-ACT residents. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Travellers who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in NSW – which includes the Northern Beaches, Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong Local Government Areas (LGAs) – will be banned from entering the ACT from midday today (2 January).

If people from the above areas need to travel to the ACT for extraordinary circumstances, they will need to apply for an exemption at least three days prior to their travel.

Returning ACT residents will still be allowed to enter the Territory but must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine if they have been to a hotspot area while non-residents must apply for a valid exemption.

The updated direction aims to help reduce the current quarantine caseload in the ACT, where non-residents who had been to hotspots were required to fill out a declaration form and quarantine upon arrival but could still enter.

Around 2,000 people are currently quarantining in the ACT, 25 per cent of whom are non-residents, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said.

“In recent days we have continued to see around 80 non-ACT residents from COVID-19 affected areas of NSW travel to the ACT daily,” she said.

“We are putting in place strengthened travel restrictions to make it absolutely clear to non-ACT residents who live or have recently visited COVID-19 affected areas of NSW that they are not able to be in the ACT at this time.

“This new direction significantly strengthens our travel restrictions, and as with all public health directions, there are penalties for people who do not comply with this direction.”

Returning ACT residents will still need to notify ACT Health when they return to the Territory and fill out an online declaration form before quarantining if they have visited an affected area.

ACT Policing will have checkpoints on the Federal Highway on Saturday to ensure compliance with the new direction.

READ MORE Eden, Bermagui residents urged to test after two possible COVID venues identified

The new restrictions come into effect on the same day that Victoria’s border with NSW also closed.

Far South Coast communities continue to remain on alert after two Victorians who tested positive to COVID-19 travelled Eden and Bermagui while infectious.

The pair visited the Great Southern Hotel in Eden on Wednesday, 30 December, from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. They also visited Bermi’s Beachside Café in Bermagui the next day between 9:00 am and 10:00 am.

For further information on travel requirements to the ACT from NSW, including the updated direction and Interstate Traveller & Returning Resident Self-Declaration Form, visit the NSW travel page on the ACT COVID-19 website.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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