21 April 2020

No need for interstate self-isolation, temperature checks at airport, says Barr

| Dominic Giannini
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr says there is no need for the ACT to put in place an extra layer of bureaucracy for travellers. Photo: Region Media.

There is no need for the ACT to introduce mandatory self-isolation for people arriving by plane from COVID-19 hotspots or for Canberra Airport to put temperature screening checks in place because of the low numbers of arrivals, according to Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

All international flights into the ACT have been suspended and interstate arrivals have dropped by 95 per cent. Only five interstate arrivals occur daily – two from Sydney, two from Melbourne and one from Brisbane.

Every state apart from NSW, Victoria and the ACT have put in place a mandatory self-isolation period of 14-days for interstate travellers and returning residents with some exceptions.

But Mr Barr said doing this in the ACT would only add another layer of bureaucracy to yield the same results.

“Really the only people travelling now would meet the [proposed] exemption criteria [of public service employees, politicians and essential workers],” Mr Barr told journalists when asked about putting in place potential mandatory self-isolation measures.

“Nearly everyone on the aircraft would be exempt because the only people travelling at the moment have an essential or compassionate reason to do so.

“It is also worth observing that depending on where you are travelling from into Canberra, unless you have an exemption from the state in which you are leaving you would find yourself going back into a quarantine-style arrangement in that state.

“That would mean you would really think twice about any unnecessary travel.”

Temperature checks at the airport would also be unnecessary, Mr Barr said.

“That would be more an international travel element that would be undertaken by Border Force, I do not think it would be something that we would be in a position to do in relation to domestic travel because the numbers are so low.

“I’m not sure it would necessarily serve any great purpose.”

There is still no evidence of community transmission within Canberra to date. ACT Health has confirmed that one of two cases that are under investigation has been attributed to interstate transmission while results for the second case are expected soon.

The ACT Government has established a dedicated COVID- 19 website for all information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT, as well as a helpline to assist Canberrans through the challenges of COVID-19. The COVID-19 helpline(02 6207 7244) operates between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm daily.

For details on how the ACT compares with other jurisdictions across Australia, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website for daily-updated information.

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I’d love to see the expert medical advice on which he bases those assertions.

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