11 August 2021

Police turn back seven cars at border, Sydney outbreak seeps further into regions

| Dominic Giannini
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COVID checks

AFP conduct COVID compliance checks at the NSW/ACT border, Federal Highway. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

ACT Policing turned seven cars back at the border yesterday after they discovered drivers attempting to contravene public health directions banning people entering the Territory from COVID-19 hotspot areas.

The turnbacks occurred as NSW recorded 344 locally acquired cases and two deaths, including a man in his 30s, in the last reporting period.

Dubbo has been plunged into a seven-day lockdown after two cases were confirmed today (11 August) and Victoria has extended its Greater Melbourne lockdown for another week.

The ACT has moved in line with Victoria’s lockdown update, extending stay at home orders for travellers who have spent any time in Greater Melbourne from 5 August until at least 11:59 pm on Thursday, 19 August, or until 14 days have passed since they left the region.

Non-residents from the area will not be allowed to enter the ACT without an exemption.

No official announcement has been made about the Dubbo lockdown, but ACT Health is likely to introduce restrictions barring non-residents from the region from entering the Territory and stay at home orders for residents arriving from the region in line with NSW, which has been the ACT’s practice throughout the outbreak.

Police conducted more than 1800 compliance checks yesterday (10 August), including 664 roadside stops at the border and 318 vehicle checks throughout Canberra, as the ACT imposed entry restrictions on an additional five local government areas this week.

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Officers are also focusing on tradespeople and transport workers, making sure they have been granted permission to continue their essential work in the ACT.

ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce Acting Inspector Ben Willis said it was reassuring that all of the almost 900 home compliance checks conducted found people at home and abiding by the regulations.

“Discovering seven people trying to come to the ACT despite the health directions that have been in place for several weeks now is a little worrying,” he said.

“It is a reality that the ACT borders remain open but with certain restrictions. Police will continue with proactive compliance activities to find those people doing the wrong thing.”

Yesterday, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT remains on daily alert but that the risk of an outbreak was being mitigated by lockdowns, and the government would move “immediately and significantly” if seeding of the virus continued further south.

“Queanbeyan is essentially a suburb of the ACT so were there to be a concern in Queanbeyan [or the capital region] then that has very significant implications for the ACT,” he said.

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