22 December 2020

Police stop 300 cars an hour for random COVID-19 compliance checks at ACT border

| Dominic Giannini
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ACT Policing officers checking cars entering the Territory. Photo: Supplied.

ACT Policing established a checkpoint on the Federal Highway near the Majura Park exit today (22 December) and has been randomly checking cars to ensure travellers have correctly filled out the online declaration form and were not trying to flout the current COVID-19 health order.

Around 300 cars an hour were being stopped and around 860 declarations had been filled in on the first day (21 December). From the declarations, just over 300 people will need to quarantine in the ACT.

People returning from the Greater Sydney area need to fill in the online declaration and quarantine for 14-days upon arrival in the ACT.

For people wanting to travel to Sydney over the Christmas and New Year period, promising COVID-19 case numbers in NSW have provided a glimmer of hope. NSW recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 from 44,000 tests today, seven have been linked to the Northern Beaches cluster and one is suspected to be an overseas case.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the pinch point for Sydney restrictions would rest on the next 24-hours, with the final decision on local restrictions to be made tomorrow morning.

READ MORE ACT’s border “effectively closed” to people from Greater Sydney.

This would mean Canberra residents visiting Sydney for Christmas or New Year’s may not have to quarantine for two weeks when they return to the capital.

Yesterday, ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman advised that it was likely travel restrictions will remain in place over Christmas and possibly New Year’s.

But Dr Coleman has consistently said that the Territory would move in lock-step with NSW, putting eased restrictions on the table if the NSW Premier moves ahead. The NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was “fairly happy” with today’s numbers.

Although the decision will not be based purely on case numbers, seeding and community transmission remain a risk.

COVID-19 road sign

People returning from Greater Sydney need to quarantine for 14-days upon returning to the ACT. Photo: Supplied.

This afternoon a health warning was issued in relation to Oliver’s Real Food at Gundagai.

Last Friday evening between 5:30 pm and 6:06 pm, a teenage girl returning to Victoria visited Oliver’s and later returned a positive test result.

Anyone who attended Olver’s at the time is being asked to get tested for COVID-19 and isolate until they receive a negative test result.

“There are a variety of factors we consider before easing restrictions to ensure we balance the current position in the ACT with the potential public health risk,” an ACT Health spokesperson said.

“In the ACT, we consider the number of active COVID-19 cases in the ACT, community and business compliance with control and safety measures, and our ability to contact trace if there is a new case or a number of cases.

“We also consider the COVID situation in NSW including the number of active cases, the degree of community transmission, daily testing rates, and NSW community compliance with COVID safe behaviours. We also consider the degree of movement between NSW and ACT and the level of risk this poses.

“ACT Health is closely monitoring the situation in NSW and will continue to take appropriate action as the situation unfolds.”

Testing in the ACT remains high following the Sydney cluster, with Tuesday setting a December record.

More information and updates to health orders are available at www.covid19.act.gov.au.

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