22 July 2020

Numbers in lockdown expected to rise as COVID-19 crisis worsens

| Kim Treasure
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Hanging Rock COVID-19 testing station in Batemans Bay

Long waits were reported at the Hanging Rock COVID-19 testing station in Batemans Bay. Photo: Supplied.

Almost 80 Canberrans are in lockdown and many more will be forced to self isolate as the ramifications of a COVID-19 outbreak at Batemans Bay spread.

Tracing has revealed 81 people from the ACT visited the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club during the critical period, with 79 already in isolation and health authorities attempting to contact the other two.

An ACT Health spokesperson said many more were expected to come forward as contact tracing continues and news of the outbreak spreads.

It is now mandatory for anyone from the ACT who was in the club on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of last week to quarantine for 14 days, with legal penalties in place for those who don’t comply.

READ MORE COVID-19 outbreak a threat to ACT

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith has also urged Canberrans to reconsider any need to travel to Batemans Bay until the extent of the spread is established.

While ACT Health has looked at border closures as a worst-case scenario, a spokesperson said they were unlikely unless the situation escalates.

“Border closures would be a last resort,” she said.

READ MORE Stay home if you can, Mayor urges

ACT Health has, however, met with local councils to discuss how such closures would be implemented. Rather than a hard shut-down of the ACT border, any “travel bubble” would likely include communities of interest such as Queanbeyan, Murrumbateman and Cooma.

Meanwhile, visual screens have been placed on roads heading into the ACT reminding people of the requirements to self isolate if they have been in any COVID-19 hotspots.

Anyone with even mild COVID-19 symptoms is being urged to be tested, although there have been widespread reports of long delays at testing stations.

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Shouldn’t communities of interest also include Sutton, Gundaroo, Gunning and Collector?

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