ACT reopens border to Victoria, quarantine ends for returned residents

Dominic Giannini 17 February 2021
Rachel Stephen-Smith

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith has extended the ACT’s public health emergency for a further 90 days. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

The ACT has reopened to Victoria after Premier Daniel Andrews announced today that the state’s five-day lockdown would end at midnight tonight (17 February).

A public health direction which barred people from Victoria entering the ACT will also expire at midnight tonight, meaning anyone from the state who was forced into quarantine upon arrival in the ACT will be able to exit, provided they are not a close contact or have otherwise been told they need to remain isolated.

There are currently just over 540 people in quarantine in the ACT, including 166 Australians who landed on the ACT’s first repatriation flight of the year last week. Around 300 people are expected to exit quarantine once the direction ends tonight.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith extended the ACT’s public health emergency for another 90 days on the advice of Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman.

The public health emergency will now expire on 18 May. The ACT Government has routinely extended the public health emergency every three months, giving Dr Coleman more power in regards to issuing health directives about the pandemic.


READ ALSO: Canberra prepares for vaccine distribution as AstraZeneca receives preliminary approval


Ms Stephen-Smith said COVID-19 will remain a reality until the vaccine is widely available.

“While there has been very positive news in recent days with the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine and the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we have a way to go in completing the vaccine roll out across the country,” she said.

“We need to ensure we have the right processes in place to quickly and appropriately respond to any threat of COVID-19 in our community.

“Canberrans can expect a public health emergency will be in place for some months to come and most likely throughout 2021.”

For further information, please visit www.covid19.act.gov.au.


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