15 July 2021

All Goulburn COVID-19 contacts cleared, daily check-ins double

| Dominic Giannini
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Rachel Stephen-Smith

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith scanning the Check In CBR QR code on the bus. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

All 26 ACT residents who were identified as casual contacts from the Goulburn COVID-19 exposure site have returned negative results, ACT Health confirmed.

NSW Health conducted a risk assessment of the construction site where the infected painter worked on Friday (9 July) and ACT Health subsequently determined the risk to the community was low.

There is also currently no indication that an exposure site at Gundagai linked to removalists has any impact on the Territory, ACT Health said.

ACT Health has put in place tighter restrictions on workers trying to enter the ACT following revelations that the painter was granted an essential work exemption from NSW Health to travel outside of Greater Sydney, which is under lockdown.

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Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said it was highly unlikely that exemptions would be granted for construction workers.

“[ACT Health] is being very strict about applying the [exemption criteria], particularly for essential workers. It has to be absolutely essential and part of that is around a time factor as well,” she said.

Non-residents from the Greater Sydney region cannot enter the ACT without a valid exemption, which can be granted on the grounds of essential work.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said a significant reduction in travel between the Greater Sydney region and the ACT meant that restrictions in the Territory were able to be eased.

The Territory’s mask mandate ended last Friday, the same day the infected worker was on-site in Goulburn.

More stringent check-in measures have come into place across the ACT to assist contact tracers locating exposure sites and it is now mandatory for people to use the Check In CBR app on public transport, and at supermarkets, petrol stations, takeaway services, clothing stores and department stores.

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People must also check-in regardless of how long they will be spending at a store, with customers previously having a 15-minute window where they would not need to check-in.

Canberrans appear to have responded well to the new measures, with average daily check-ins more than doubling – jumping to almost 270,000 between 1 July and 14 July, up from almost 112,000 a day in the previous fortnight.

The government announced the expansion of the app on 1 July, with mandatory check-ins coming into effect almost immediately, while new businesses covered by the mandate were given until 15 July before it became compulsory.

Fines of around $1000 apply to individuals who flout the check-in measures, up to $8000 if it goes through the courts for egregious breaches.

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