ACT Health is urging Canberrans to reconsider their need to travel interstate due to the worsening situation in NSW and COVID-positive cases arising in other jurisdictions.
While there are no active cases in the ACT, residents are being warned that the situation can change rapidly.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has repeatedly stated that he would move quickly and decisively if a case arises in the ACT.
“We need to recognise we are in the highest risk period we have been in for some time, certainly this year,” he said.
“The Delta variant of the virus is much more transmissible. We are also in winter and the experience is … the virus spreads more in a winter environment because we are indoors more.
“It is a difficult and anxious time. It is in the middle of school holidays. Everything about it is a perfect storm of potential COVID spread, so we will need to have a balanced response.”
The ACT is stepping up its sewage monitoring and is encouraging Canberrans to get tested if they have any symptoms so health authorities can achieve a good level of surveillance and detect the virus if it is in the community.
Mr Barr said enacting mask requirements before the virus entered the community was better than implementing rushed measures once Canberrans had already been exposed.
“[Wearing a mask] is not a risk eliminator but it is a risk reducer,” he said.
“Mask wearing applies across the border in Queanbeyan. There is not something magic in the air between the ACT and NSW that is so fundamentally different.
“We sit within rural NSW, so in assessing the risks associated with transmission and the extent that wearing a mask is the least disruptive measure … it was the best and most appropriate measure at this time.”
ACT Health is updating its website twice a day – at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm – with new exposure locations. Recent travellers should also monitor health information from the jurisdiction they have returned from.