10 August 2021

ACT border checks ramp up as NSW reaches record case numbers

| Dominic Giannini
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Border checks

Police were conducting compliance checks at the NSW/ACT border today (10 August). Photo: Michelle Kroll.

ACT Policing has ramped up compliance checks at the border after NSW posted a record 356 locally acquired cases, and up to 254 were in the community during their infectious period.

Four deaths were also recorded overnight, three people in their 80s and one in their 70s. Three have been linked to the Sydney outbreak; none were vaccinated.

More than 50 police officers were deployed to conduct compliance checks on the more than 1100 people subject to quarantine or stay at home orders in the ACT.

Seven people were asked to leave the ACT, four people were arrested, and three infringement notices and one caution notice were issued in the week to Monday, 9 August.

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Last week, 391 in-person compliance checks of homes, hotels and businesses were conducted and 2500 drivers were stopped by officers on Canberra roads.

Police will continue to stop vehicles within the ACT and at the border to ensure people are complying with the current health directions, including recent bans on people entering the Territory from Tamworth, Byron Bay Shire, Ballina Shire, Lismore and Richmond Valley local government areas.

COVID-19 border checks

Police were conducting compliance checks at the NSW/ACT border on Tuesday (10 August). Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT remains on daily alert but that the risk of an outbreak was being mitigated by lockdowns, the Army conducting compliance checks in Sydney and ACT Policing checks. This has reduced travel between the two regions to almost zero so the ACT can focus all its available resources on getting the population vaccinated as one of the primary defences against a potential outbreak, Mr Barr said.

“At the moment, our focus is on vaccination and we are pouring all of our available resources into vaccinating as many people as possible,” he said.

“The more Canberrans that are vaccinated the better the position we will be in if the virus makes its way south [but] we have the capacity to dramatically escalate our public health response if the circumstances warrant it.”

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Mr Barr remained adamant the ACT would move “immediately and significantly” if there was community transmission in the region.

“The decision on when you would move to that needs to be based on the level of risk escalating,” he said.

“Queanbeyan is essentially a suburb of the ACT so were there to be a concern in Queanbeyan then that has very significant implications for the ACT.

“But what is happening in Byron Bay is a little bit less relevant to our day-to-day life. It is a small risk factor but it is not a major risk factor in the way that Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Murrambateman and Yass might be.”

Mr Barr also said any further measures in the ACT, such as the reinstatement of a mask mandate, would likely be in place for months if the risk assessment required an escalation of restrictions.

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HiddenDragon7:12 pm 10 Aug 21

The tough-talk about being prepared to move “immediately and significantly” and “dramatically” escalating the public health response is all very well, but even if it was done in circumstances which would unequivocally attract the full range of federal government support, the ACT government would need to be ready to go with real support of its own for already struggling businesses, and many more which would be pushed to the brink by “significant” and “dramatic” restrictions –


Experience in other jurisdictions has repeatedly highlighted problems with state bureaucracies gearing-up quickly to support businesses hit by lockdowns, so there should be no excuse for the ACT government not to have learned from that experience and fully prepared accordingly.

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