The Australian National University (ANU) will again be used to quarantine returning students and Australian officials, with the first cohort due tomorrow (20 July).
Davey Lodge will be used to quarantine the students while the ANU apartments on Liversidge Street will be used for officials. No numbers have been confirmed, but it is understood that dozens of apartments will be used for quarantine.
More than 200 students have completed quarantine or stay at home orders on campus since late June. Around 600 students are currently waiting to return to ANU from NSW where people in the Greater Sydney region are stuck in lockdown and cannot enter the ACT without a valid exemption.
All returning travellers are vaccinated, the university told staff in an email notifying them of the arrangements.
“ACT Health and ACT Policing will oversee the quarantine. Quarantine arrangements in the ACT have been very successful and we are confident they have very robust measures in place,” the email said.
“The units are traditionally used for visiting staff and are currently vacant. No ANU staff or students will interact with the quarantining travellers.
“Your health and safety are our highest priority, so we and ACT Health are taking all necessary measures to help keep you and the rest of our community safe.”
Those in isolation will not be able to access any areas used by the public during their 14-day quarantine period.
Davey Lodge at ANU was used to quarantine around 30 Commonwealth officials who returned from overseas after travelling as part of Australia’s G7 delegation.
ACT Health had knocked back a proposal by the university to quarantine returning international students on campus just months ago, saying the accommodation was not fit for purpose as the rooms at Davey Lodge do not have facilities like balconies and kitchens that ACT Health requires.
However, the lodge complies with national quarantine requirements. Additional requirements in the ACT are linked to the Territory’s obligations as a human rights jurisdiction.
An ANU spokesperson said the domestic quarantine protocols were developed in conjunction with ACT Health.
“We have successfully quarantined returning domestic students on campus during 2020 and 2021.
“We are working with ACT Health to update quarantine and operational protocols to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the context of the delta strain,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that students should not attempt to return to the ACT until they had permission to do so after ACT Policing fined 13 students $1000 each for returning to the ACT despite having their exemption requests rejected.
“We urge students in lockdown areas to stay tuned and not attempt to cross borders until the University gives them a clear direction,” the spokesperson said.
ACT Health approved 757 exemption applications for people arriving from NSW and Victoria between 12 and 18 July.
The cohort will add to the 541 people currently quarantining, and the 811 people subject to stay at home orders in the ACT as exposure locations across NSW and Victoria continue to grow.
People travelling to the ACT from Victoria and the Greater Sydney region cannot enter the ACT without a valid declaration. Returning residents must fill out an online declaration form before travelling and are subject to the stay at home requirements.