23 December 2020

ACT's COVID-19 restrictions to stay in place for Christmas

| Karyn Starmer
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Chris Steel.

Acting ACT Health Minister Chris Steel. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

The ACT will keep its restrictions on travellers in place for Christmas and most likely until New Year’s Day as local authorities remain wary of community transmission associated with the Sydney COVID-19 outbreak.

Earlier today, NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian announced ‘modest changes’ to coronavirus restrictions for the Christmas period after the state recorded eight new cases on Wednesday. The Avalon cluster now stands at 97 cases.

Speaking this afternoon, Acting Health Minister Chris Steel said that when making the decision to maintain restrictions, the ACT Chief Health Minister Dr Kerryn Coleman considered the degree of movement between NSW and the ACT and the level of risk of seeding events outside of northern beaches.

Based on these factors, Minster Steel said the ACT government is not in a position to ease travel restrictions at this stage.

There are currently 615 people in isolation in the ACT including people from Sydney, 458 of whom self-declared with 39 of those from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. There are 127 diplomats and Commonwealth officials in quarantine.

Anyone who has visited Greater Sydney, the Central Coast and Wollongong and returned to the ACT should go into self quarantine for 14 days. Those in quarantine must make themselves known to ACT Health via the online form on the ACT Health website. People must stay in isolation for the whole 14 days, even if they test negative. Testing should be done when residents arrive back into the ACT and at the end of the 14 days.

“If you are not an ACT resident do not travel to the ACT,” Minister Steel said. “If you are transiting through those areas without stopping you do no need to quarantine, the same as travelling to other areas of NSW.

“I know this is disappointing for many but the pandemic is far from over and we have to do what we have to, to reduce the risk.”

Minster Steel thanked ACT residents for listening to the advice and for getting tested. Over the past 24 hours 1,300 people have been tested making that a record for the highest daily testing rate.

ACT residents are reminded to maintain physical distancing, practice good hand hygiene and to check-in using the CBR safe app when visiting any venue in the ACT. Over 30,000 people are checking in via the app every day. It is the customer’s responsibility to check in and venues have a right to refuse entry to any person that does not check-in.

ACT Policing will continue to have a presence on the Federal Highway and will conduct random interceptions of cars. At some times of the day, the community may see a traffic stop set up, similar to a Roadside Breath Test which drivers are used to, and other times there may be police vehicles near the border.

In NSW, restriction modifications for Greater Sydney and the northern beaches will apply for the next three days.

Ms Berejikilian announced this morning that the northern beaches will be separated into two different zones, with a new boundary at the Narrabeen Bridge.

People living in the southern zone, such as Manly or Dee Why, will be allowed to have 10 people into their home on the 24th, 25th and 26th “from the region or other parts of Greater Sydney”. However, they can’t leave the area. Those in the northern zone of the Northern Beaches LGA will be allowed to have five people in their home on the 24th, 25th and 26th, but they must be people from within that zone.

Ms Berejiklian said the restrictions brought in earlier this week for Greater Sydney – which includes the Wollongong LGA and the Central Coast – will stay in place, except for a small change to allow an unlimited number of children under 12 to join a maximum of 10 adults to visit homes between December 24-26.

The 10 adult cap applies to visitors, and not the residents of the homes.

From December 27, the restriction will revert to allow only 10 people of any age to visit households in the restricted area.

There will be no changes to restrictions for regional NSW, where up to 50 visitors are allowed in private homes.

Ms Berejiklian said the state will revert to the restrictions that are in place today once the three days over Christmas pass.

Victoria recorded record no new cases of coronavirus acquired locally or interstate while Queensland has recorded no new local cases and one case that was acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.

Original Article published by Karyn Starmer on The RiotACT.

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