9 June 2021

Do not travel to Victoria over long weekend, says Health Minister

| Dominic Giannini
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Rachel Stephen-Smith

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said Canberrans should avoid travelling to Victoria over the long weekend. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Canberrans should avoid travelling to Victoria, especially Greater Melbourne, over the long weekend despite easing restrictions in the state, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said.

Victorian authorities announced today (9 June) that the state would come out of its fourth lockdown tomorrow night, but restrictions will remain in place.

People in Melbourne must stay within a 25-kilometre radius of their home, masks must be worn indoors, and visitors are not allowed at home.

Cafes, restaurants and retail shops will have density limits.

Ms Stephen-Smith admitted it was tough to ask people not to travel over the long weekend but said travel was strongly discouraged as risks remained.

“It is really positive to see the situation easing in Melbourne, but they clearly do have restrictions still in place, and they have them there for a reason,” she said.

Advice about the stay at home order for people in Canberra who have arrived from Victoria is due to be updated tomorrow.

READ ALSO ‘Chat to Pat’ mobile health clinic opens to vulnerable Canberrans at Veterans Park

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman is meeting with her state, territory and federal counterparts this afternoon to discuss the Victoria situation and the announcement on restrictions made by Victorian authorities today.

The stay at home order was extended with Melbourne’s lockdown last week. However, the ACT’s order remained the same for rural Victoria despite restrictions easing in the regions.

Dr Coleman said the blanket coverage for Victoria was because the state had implemented tight gathering restrictions and other public health measures that the ACT does not have in place.

Dr Kerryn Coleman

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman is expected to make an announcement tomorrow morning about stay at home orders. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

On the vaccine rollout, Ms Stephen-Smith said more than 34,000 bookings have been made at Territory-run vaccine clinics.

The Calvary clinic is booked out until around mid-July while the Garran Pfizer hub is filled up until 22 June, Ms Stephen-Smith said.

The ACT Government is in talks with the Commonwealth to access more Pfizer vaccines in the coming weeks.

The ACT currently receives around 6000 to 7000 doses of Pfizer every week from the Commonwealth. The amount is part of the Commonwealth’s forward vaccine schedule, which currently extends to 20 weeks from the start of the vaccine’s rollout.

It is currently week 16.

Ms Stephen-Smith said it would be unhelpful to comment on how much of an increase the ACT is asking for, but it is apparent that what was offered was not enough.

Following last Friday’s National Cabinet meeting (4 June), Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Pfizer would be increasing its supply to Australia on an expedited timeline, but further details have not been released.

Plans are being drawn up for a new Pfizer hub in Canberra, depending on vaccine supply. More details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information about COVID-19 and travel restrictions and requirements in the ACT, visit www.covid19.act.gov.au.

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I will never travel to Victoria again. Too risky that they will impose a lockdown just as you cross the border

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