20 July 2021

Canberrans told to avoid interstate travel, stay at home requirements extended

| Dominic Giannini
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Rachel Stephen-Smith

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith announced an extension of stay at home orders for Victorian arrivals. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Stay at home requirements have been extended by a week for people arriving in the ACT from Victoria, and people who arrive from South Australia from 6:00 pm tonight (20 July), following lockdown announcements in both states.

Stay at home requirements for travellers from both Victoria and South Australia will end at 11:59 pm, Tuesday, 27 July. ACT Health has also advised Canberrans to avoid South Australia until then.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the measures follow the ACT Government’s history of introducing restrictions in line with lockdown orders in other jurisdictions.

There are currently 810 people subject to stay at home orders in the ACT – 465 from NSW and 345 from Victoria – and there are 547 people in quarantine after returning from COVID-19 affected areas.

A further 109 people are in quarantine in the ACT, with returned Commonwealth officials and diplomats being allowed to undertake their mandatory 14-day quarantine at home in Canberra after returning from overseas.

Parliamentarians will be able to receive exemptions for essential work – the Prime Minister was already granted one upon returning to Canberra – but Ms Stephen-Smith said that parliamentarians would also need to abide by the restrictions of their home jurisdictions and may choose not to travel.

Some jurisdictions, like South Australia, have declared the ACT a red zone due to its proximity to NSW, and ACT residents are not able to enter without an exemption and quarantine requirements.

“Our very clear preference is anybody who is coming for Parliament, whether they are an MP or a Senator, and certainly if they are a staff member … should be undertaking 14 days of quarantine if they are coming from Greater Sydney to attend Parliament House,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“We have been very clear: the risk from Greater Sydney is quite significant.”

Ms Stephen-Smith has also urged Canberrans to reconsider their need to travel interstate as the spread of the more contagious delta variant continues across numerous jurisdictions.

She noted that travel requirements may change at short notice, including the possibility that travellers may be locked down in another jurisdiction, or may need to isolate or stay at home upon returning to the ACT.

The extension of stay at home requirements comes as a positive case has been detected in Cootamundra, about 165 km northwest of the ACT. The case is believed to be linked to an infectious truck driver who visited a private residence. The man who has since tested positive was in isolation when he received the test, but NSW Health authorities are assessing whether there are any further exposure locations.

Only one close contact from the new case has been identified as of Tuesday morning (20 July), NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

Further updates are available at ACT Health and NSW Health.

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