The Shoalhaven and Wingecarribee are among 14 local government areas locked out of the ACT without an exemption, as COVID-19 tightens its grip on NSW.
The state has again posted a record number of locally acquired cases with 291 new cases announced today (6 August) by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, up from 262 yesterday.
Six deaths have been linked to the NSW outbreak over the past two days.
People leaving from the 14 affected areas will not be able to enter the ACT without an exemption. Returning Canberra residents will automatically be granted an exemption but will need to quarantine for 14 days from when they were last in the area.
Returning Canberra residents need to fill out an online declaration form on the COVID-19 website.
The local government areas include Armidale, Dubbo, Maitland, Newcastle, Singleton, Cessnock, Dungog Shire, Mid-Western, Port Stephens, Wingecarribee Shire, Coffs Harbour, Lake Macquarie, Muswellbrook and Shoalhaven.
The ACT has also reintroduced stay at home orders for people who enter the Territory from Victoria, mirroring the state’s weeklong lockdown measures announced yesterday afternoon.
The stay at home orders will remain in place until at least midnight Thursday, 12 August.
With lockdowns now in place across Australia’s three biggest states, Ms Berejiklian said vaccination rates needed to grow before NSW can emerge from its current restrictions.
“The more people we get vaccinated, the sooner we will be able to live more freely, and I really want to stress that point,” she said.
The state is pushing to reach six million jabs by the end of August when the current lockdown is scheduled to end.
The Federal Government will ship an extra 185,000 Pfizer doses to Sydney but ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Territory has not requested further Pfizer supplies from the national stockpile.
Ms Stephen-Smith said appointments in Canberra would not be cancelled in favour of redistributing vaccines to NSW as it would inconvenience Canberrans and impact confidence in the ACT’s rollout without making a large difference in Sydney.
“We would all want more supply if we could get it, but we recognise that Sydney is in a very difficult position, so if there is more supply from the Commonwealth [to NSW] … we would not be begrudging that either,” she said.
The NSW Government has begun decreasing the time between the two AstraZeneca doses as it tries to get more people fully vaccinated.
Second Pfizer doses – given three weeks after the first – have been delayed so more vulnerable people can access at least one dose of the vaccine.
Messaging encouraging younger people in Greater Sydney to get the AstraZeneca vaccine instead of waiting for Pfizer has ramped up as there have been no deaths of fully vaccinated people in the state.
A meeting of federal, state and territory health ministers is due to be held this afternoon.
Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.