7 September 2021

UPDATED: Construction site, retailers and public transport routes named in new exposure locations list

| Lottie Twyford and Genevieve Jacobs
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ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering

ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering construction site is a casual contact site. Photo: TTW.

UPDATED 3:00 pm: Construction sites, bus routes and retailers have been named in this afternoon’s COVID-19 exposure sites list.

New casual contact sites have been named in Canberra’s north in the suburbs of Braddon, Gungahlin and Majura Park.
ANU and CIT are both cited in the new listings.

In Braddon, Beyond Pharmacy is a casual contact site on Wednesday, 1 September between 4:30 and 5:30 pm, as is 80/20 Food on Tuesday, 31 August between 10:40 am and 11:30 am.

The Gungahlin Reject Shop is a casual contact venue for both Thursday, 2 September between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm and Friday, 3 September between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm.

Chemist Warehouse Majura Park is listed as a casual-contact exposure site for Monday, 30 August between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as is Woolworths Majura Park on the same evening from 6:25 pm to 7:30 pm.

The construction site at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering is also a casual contact site for anyone who was there between 7:00 am and 4:00 pm on Friday, 3 September.

If you have been to any of the casual contact exposure locations at the dates and time listed, you are a casual contact.

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Several bus routes have also been listed in Canberra’s north. A large number of venues in Gungahlin, Lyneham, Mawson, Belconnen and Swinger Hill have also been added under the ‘monitor for symptoms’ category.

Visit covid19.act.gov.au for more information.

Scott Morrison and family

Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted this family snap to his official social media accounts on Friday. Photo: Facebook – Scott Morrison (ScoMo).

2:15 pm: Today’s COVID-19 media conference was dominated by questions about the Prime Minister’s Sydney trip, yet Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Chief Health Officer and Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith were unwilling to be drawn into the conversation.

Reports emerged yesterday that the Prime Minister flew out of Canberra on Saturday morning, spent the weekend at Kirribilli with his family, and then returned to Canberra to address the national summit on women’s safety and for a national security committee meeting.

An exemption had been provided by ACT Health to allow the Prime Minister to return to Canberra to fulfil these engagements.

Mr Barr explained that a set of processes was in place for federal parliamentarians, which included their movements being limited to their place of residence and work – presumably being Federal Parliament and the Lodge for Mr Morrison – as well as repeated COVID-19 testing.

Mr Barr said both of these locations are among the most remote in relation to the rest of Canberra as nobody could enter either due to strict security protocols.

He said that this was not the first time an exemption had been granted to a Federal Parliamentarian and while he said he understood community frustration at what people may perceive to be unfair, he said he “was not the Prime Minister’s keeper and did not offer political advice to him”.

He did, however, concede that it was a “not a great look”.

Mr Barr repeatedly noted that questions around the trip would be better directed to the Prime Minister’s Office as his responsibilities were to Canberrans currently enduring lockdown and a COVID-19 outbreak.

He reminded people that ACT Health has no power to stop people from leaving the ACT nor from applying for an exemption as an essential worker.

“The Prime Minister’s position is unique in the nation, that is understood, and Canberra faces a challenging set of circumstances as the seat of government in terms of continuing the operation of our nation’s democracy,” Mr Barr explained.

The Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman said she would not comment on individual circumstances but that the usual processes had been in place.

When asked whether she too believed it was a bad look for the Prime Minister, Dr Coleman said it was not her job as Chief Health Officer to have an opinion on the matter.

She also said that it was not up to her to judge the essentiality of work in industries that had already been deemed essential – such as federal politics.

“In many ways, it is a trust relationship, as is much of society,” she said.

Speaking this morning on ABC Radio, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith had the same stance as Dr Coleman, saying that she too was unable to comment on individual matters, but that there is a process in place for Federal MPs who are considered to be essential workers.

Ms Stephen-Smith would also not confirm whether or not the Prime Minister will complete home quarantine.

Normal circumstances would dictate that anyone travelling from NSW outside of the approved border zones to the ACT would be required to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.

Federal Labor MP Bill Shorten accused the Prime Minister of “appalling judgement”, saying he should be treated like every other member of the public.

On Friday, the Prime Minister posted a photo of himself and his family to his official Facebook page. He specified that it had been taken earlier in the year, raising questions over whether or not he intended to be transparent about the trip.

Talking to Sky News today, Mr Morrison said he had not been given any special treatment, nor was an exemption required from NSW Health authorities to return to his home in Sydney.

He also noted that he would be “heading back home this weekend as well and later in this week when I’m no longer required to be here in the ACT”.

Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr at this morning’s COVID-19 briefing. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

12:30 pm: There are 19 new COVID-19 cases overnight, 13 of which are linked to current exposure sites or cases. Eleven were in full quarantine, six spent part of their infectious period in the community and two are under investigation.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has faced a barrage of questions from a larger than usual media contingent at today’s briefing as he discussed the Prime Minister’s decision to visit Sydney for the Father’s Day weekend.

“I would prefer this press conference not to be dominated by questions about the Prime Minister,” Mr Barr said. “But situations like this, I understand, cause concern; it’s not a good look.”

He asked journalists to direct their questions to the Prime Minister, noting this was not a good use of his time as the ACT Government endeavours to protect and support the local community.

“I am not the Prime Minister’s adviser or his keeper … he is ultimately accountable to the Australian community for this decision but we need to ensure that our democracy continues to function. This is the national capital and the seat of government,” he said.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said she would not comment on individual cases and that the Prime Minister’s application was considered and granted in line with exemption conditions.

Health authorities say they’re pleased to note that testing numbers increased significantly to almost 3500 yesterday. The exposure sites are listed twice each day on the COVID-19 website, which has received more than 20 million hits.

The ACT also set a vaccination record yesterday, administering more than 3000 doses in government clinics. In total, 71.4 per cent of the 16-plus population have received their first dose, or around 246,000 Canberrans; 47.6 per cent, or 164,000 Canberrans 16-plus have received their second dose.

However, Mr Barr pointed out that 85,000 people are still not vaccinated at all and 267,000 are not fully vaccinated, meaning we are several months away from reaching an 80 per cent vaccination rate.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said the total outbreak now stands at 404 cases of which 174 have now recovered including 11 more overnight. There are 230 active cases in total.

From today’s 13 linked cases, 11 are household contacts and 11 were in quarantine during their whole period.

Eight people are in hospital, six of whom are unvaccinated.

Over the course of this outbreak, 23 people have been hospitalised. Of these, three people have required intensive care and two have been ventilated. Most infections are in the young adult population.

There are 14 public sites of transmission and one new case has been added to the Mirchi Indian restaurant cluster, two new and two previously confirmed cases are now associated with the Busy Bees early learning centre, and there are two new cases linked to the Woden Priceline pharmacy.

Some changes to testing will take place from tomorrow. The Brindabella and Weston Creek centres will close for testing after today but will be available in future if necessary for surge testing capacity. The Garran surge centre will return to use as a testing clinic and the AIS will focus on vaccination.

Acting clinical director of obstetrics at Canberra Hospital Dr Natalie De Cure also spoke about the importance of pregnant women receiving vaccination.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Australian College of Midwives are both strong advocates for vaccination at any stage of pregnancy, relying on global data from the US and UK showing that there were no adverse outcomes at any stage of pregnancy from the Pfizer vaccine.

Like other vaccines given to pregnant women including flu and whooping cough, Dr De Cure said Pfizer is not a live vaccine and there is no risk of infection to the baby. The vaccine triggers a mother’s immune response to make natural antibodies to prevent or mitigate the illness and degrades very quickly in the maternal system. It does not cross the placenta but the mother’s antibodies do offer protection to the baby.

Dr De Cure said there is also no increased miscarriage risk and that women at all stages of pregnancy should seek at least one dose of vaccine. Women with complex health backgrounds are strongly encourage to discuss vaccination with their care teams.

UPDATED 11:55 am: The ACT has recorded 19 new COVID-19 cases to 8:00 pm last night.

Yesterday the ACT recorded 11 cases.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said 13 cases are linked to current or close contacts; six are under investigation.

Eleven have been in quarantine for the entirety of their infectious period; six spent part of thier infectious period in the community and two are under investigation.

The number of people in hospital has dropped to eight (down from 11) and one remains in intensive care requiring ventilation.

Testing rose to almost 3500 in the past 24 hours – up from less than 2500 yesterday – and the ACT Government is pleased people are coming forward for testing in greater numbers.

Vaccination also hit a record at ACT Government clinics yesterday with more than 3500 doses administered.

At her COVID briefing, Premier Gladys Berejiklian reported that NSW had recorded 1220 new cases and eight more people have died from the virus.

Of the deaths, six were unvaccinated people: one man in his 50s, two women and a man in their 70s, a man in his 80s and a man in his 90s. One man in his 60s had received one dose and a fully vaccinated man in his 90s also died.

In Victoria, Premier Dan Andrews announced 246 new cases.

Kaleen Plaza

The pharmacy at Kaleen Plaza was one of only three close contact exposure sites added last night. Photo: Daniella Jukic – We Are Found.

Woolworths Gungahlin, Kaleen Plaza Pharmacy and Block Ra of the CIT Bruce Student Accommodation were the only three casual contact sites added to the ACT Government’s exposure location list last night.

There were no new close contact exposure sites.

Anyone who visited Woolworths Gungahlin between 12:50 pm and 2:00 pm on Sunday, 5 September, the pharmacy at Kaleen on Wednesday, 1 September between 6:15 pm and 7:10 pm and the student accommodation at CIT on Monday, 30 August between 8:50 pm and 11:30 pm must get tested, immediately quarantine and complete the ACT Contact Declaration Form.

The number of tests required is dependent on how many days ago the location was visited. Less than four days ago means two tests, whereas more than four days ago means only one.

A number of locations are also listed in the ‘monitor for symptoms’ category.

Among them is United Petrol Amaroo on Sunday, 5 September between 12:20 pm and 1:00 pm, Hawker Discount Drug Store on Friday, 27 August between 11:40 am and 12:20 pm, Jamison Plaza News on Friday, 3 September between 2:00 pm and 2:50 pm and Coles Express Gungahlin on the same day between 2:50 pm and 3:30 pm.

Anyone who visited Braddon Flowers on Tuesday, 31 August between 10:40 am and 11:15 am, Nandos Canberra Centre on Friday, 3 September between 2:50 pm and 3:30 pm should also monitor for symptoms.

Only nine exposure sites were added overnight. This comes after a weekend in which the list ballooned with more than 100 new sites added.

READ ALSO Vinnies still here to help as organisation adapts services to suit ‘new normal’

However, authorities remain concerned about the number of cases in the surrounding region of NSW as new introductions of the virus to the Territory remain under investigation.

Speaking this morning on breakfast radio, Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said NSW continues to pose a risk to the ACT because the case numbers are so high.

However, she didn’t rule out easing some restrictions on Friday, 17 September when the current lockdown is due to come to an end.

Yesterday, NSW health authorities confirmed two new cases in Goulburn, one case in Googong, one case in Karabar and one new case in Queanbeyan.

Further afield, there was also a new case in Batemans Bay and one in Cooma. Harden is also of concern after an essential worker visited the town and later tested positive for COVID-19.

A number of venues of concern in Goulburn and Yass have been listed.

READ ALSO UPDATED: ACT cases may have plateaued but still too many unlinked

Canberrans who have had one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are now able to decrease the interval between jabs to between four and eight weeks. It was previously recommended to wait for 12 weeks between doses.

Ms Stephen-Smith said that while she wasn’t aware of the number of Canberrans who had opted to move their second appointments forward, she knew the news had been welcomed by the community.

The ACT Government has previously said it’s hoped the change will allay the concerns of people who were put off from getting AstraZeneca because they believed it would be quicker to wait for Pfizer to become available.

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Why is public transport still even running? Look at the exposure list. You can trace peoples movements to and from shopping centres, whilst they shop and then return home.

HiddenDragon6:47 pm 08 Sep 21

Morrison’s defence (or explanation, if you like) rested on his very matter-of-fact, almost below-the-radar, observation that “I live in Sydney”.

There’s an absolutely prime parcel of land sitting at the corner of Adelaide Avenue and National Circuit, which has been seriously under-utilised for much of the last few decades, and which would fetch an absolute bomb in the current scorching market – when it was re-zoned for a 20-storey (at least) apartment block.

This would help to pay down a bit of the Himalayan federal debt, add massively to the sum total of human happiness with so many given access to a “to die for” address, and all that would really be needed to replace what’s currently there would be a fold-down bed in the PM’s Parliament House office – or we could flog off Kirribilli House (for vastly more money) and solve the problem that way. Throw in Admiralty House, in a republican spirit (and because we’re all in this together……) and we could even afford to pay for a few more lockdowns.

If Canberra doesn’t follow suit with NSW and their proposed opening in mid October the Canberra Hospital will be over run by NSW residents.

Que? Is your plan that we overrun our hospitals with ACT residents first, so beat them to it?

Pfizer for everyone, regardless of colour, creed, sex or age.

We are in lockdown, but celebrities, footballers and their WAGs/kids can come and go. Nicole Kidman can go to Singapore and straight to the film set. She’ll come back here and “isolate” at Bowral. Meanwhile us mushrooms must watch Soylent Green

Capital Retro2:30 pm 07 Sep 21

Didn’t the Queensland Premier travel to Tokyo during a recent lockdown?

What was her “excuse”?

Is there anything you won’t try to justify with a ‘look over there’.

To be perfectly honest, I think the reasons given for the Queensland Premier to travel to Japan were weak. But she did quarantine for the full fortnight upon her return also, so in that sense got no special treatment to anybody else.

The delightful marketing man however loves a world where he sets his own rules. Its all well and good for him to bend them so he can get to do what he wants – stuff the plebs is truly his view of the world.

I don’t see any basis on why he should have had any special treatment in this regard. Plenty of people out there that would have loved to spend Fathers day together as a family but couldn’t due to lockdowns.

Apart from his happy clapper beliefs, what makes Scomo any different to anyone else or more deserving of a bending of the rules to fit in such an avoidable and unnecessary trip. What ever happened to we are all in this together- its more like we are all equal, but some are more equal than others it seems.

Capital Retro4:54 pm 07 Sep 21

You forgot to mention emoticons.

How has Morrison set or bended the rules here?

The ACT government sets the rules and provided an exemption in line with their guidelines.

Politically it doesn’t look good for Morrison but as we are all painfully aware, it’s the state governments who are in control of the borders.

Didn’t realise QLD was in lockdown when she went to Tokyo.

But even if she were there are essential traveller exemptions so not sure your point.

Chewy seriously?

Whilst he hasn’t done anything wrong, adherence with the rules is not the issue. And trying to lay “blame” back on the ACT government is a bit rich especially whilst also ignoring NSW rules also come into play.

That said the issue here is totally one of appearance which is what (sadly) politics is about these days. And he has form.

Me personally I don’t begrudge him the time home with family but surely he would or should have know how it would be viewed and not just by political opponents but by the voters.

Yes seriously.

The clearly partisan attack on the PM is absolute gutter politics when the same principles have been applied to all politicians since the pandemic began.

The ACT government is in charge of our borders and provided an exemption for the PM to leave and return in line with their guidelines. If people don’t like those rules, the state and territory government’s are the ones in control, as they let us know constantly.

I didn’t mention the NSW rules because they didn’t come into play, the PM didn’t need a NSW exemption to return to his family in Sydney, just to abide by the lockdown rules in NSW, which he did.

If people want to complain about other Australians not being able to see their families, then their anger should be solely focused on the state governments who are preventing it.

“That said the issue here is totally one of appearance which is what (sadly) politics is about these days.”

Exactly as I said, it’s all about the politics because it didn’t “look good”. But that’s just how lazy the political sniping is with all of them trying to score their little political points over what actually matters.

I’m sure we will see similar reporting when all the other politicians return home again shortly, won’t we. LOL.

I agree the political attacks are not required. However most of the attacks are from the public who were not afforded the same opportunity and see it as a double standard.

And that’s where the PM is woeful. He just doesn’t get the optics of his actions and here he has form.

But still not sure why you are blaming the ACT.

Yes that’s because the public are still extremely ignorant around the way our federation works, even 18 months into this Pandemic.

People still actually think Morrison is in charge of everything when it clearly isn’t the case. The states have significant powers that they have been regularly exercising. Along with letting everyone know that they are in control to gain maximum political mileage when it suits them.

I’m not “blaming” the ACT government about anything, I’m simply pointing out that they are the ones in control and the ones who made this exemption decision. I think these types of exemptions are reasonable no matter which politician or party they were given to. I also think they should be more widely used for other citizens with appropriate risk controls.

But If a double standard exists or people believe it does, the states/territories are the ones who have created it.

Honestly, the QLD government let a whole heap of NRL WAGs in a few weeks ago whilst they still prevent family members from entering to visit dying relatives.

Of course Palaszczuk apologises that she shouldn’t have allowed it after the fact, but you’ll note that she doesn’t actually do anything or reverse the decision or improve it for other people.

The whole situation is ridiculous.

Chewy I am certain the public are well aware of how federation works and who is responsible for what.

No one is claiming that what Morrison did was against anyone’s rules.

As I’ve been saying it is all about the optics of his actions which only Morrison is responsible for and state rules do not come into play. He must either be very deaf, very arrogant or has poor advisors. Or maybe a combination of all three.

clearly you haven’t been following the issue too closely if you don’t think there is a massive misunderstanding in the public about this issue and the details. Just go and read the comments on the numerous articles about it to see that a good chunk of the public don’t have a clue.

A large part of the “optics” you are talking about is because of people thinking Morrison has set different rules for himself, when he literally isn’t in control of the borders nor the restrictions/exemptions in place.

You say he should have been smarter politically. No doubt.

But it’s sad that this is the kind of thing our political parties try to cash in on, rather than focusing on issues of real importance.

Chewy think it is you who doesn’t understand.l or hasn’t been following too closely.

The rules that apply to Morrison and all federal politicians are not the same rules that the public have. I, for example couldn’t have travelled to Sydney at the weekend to visit my family there.

The ACT government has of course given exemptions to ensure Federal Parliament can operate and they have put in place very specific health controls to allow the pollies and the hanger ons to work in Canberra. That does include coming and going, subject to state rules.

Whilst they are not Morrisons rules and he’s not the only one to take advantage of them fact is he did and only he can be responsible for the fallout of his own actions. As I’ve said it is all about the optics and how things are perceived not that he may or may not have broken rules. Unlike Tony Maggot who was spotted today walking in Sydney without a mask.

um that’s incorrect, the same rules apply to you and I and you even explain why in your comment.

Anyone is free to apply for an exemption as Morrison did. The application forms and rules can be easily found on the ACT Gov website.

What you’re really saying is that you or I are less likely to be successful in gaining an exemption because:

“they have put in place very specific health controls to allow the pollies and the hanger ons to work in Canberra. That does include coming and going, subject to state rules.”

The fact that people are too dumb to understand this isn’t Morrison’s fault.

The fact that the states and territories are in control of these restrictions and any potential double standards is also not Morrison’s fault.

Have an objective think about exactly what’s being criticised here.

An essential worker living away from his family in a tightly controlled health bubble was able to see that family for a short period of time after a couple of months away. All the while maintaining the protective health controls put in place.

Perspective helps.

Totally incorrect Chewy. As I made it clear the pollies are operating under a special system that allows them to come and go to the ACT. That is different from the general public.

Act government put this in place so that federal parliament could operate.

Whilst Joe public may well be able to apply for an exemption the chances of getting one especially to spend time with family in Sydney would be zero. But again that is not the rule that Morrison (and Albo too btw) used at the weekend.

Core issue as I have repeated several times is not the rules but the optics’s of taking advantage of certain rules to do something the rest of us would not be able to do.

You keep telling me that I’m wrong but then go on to basically agree with what I’ve written.

“As I made it clear the pollies are operating under a special system that allows them to come and go to the ACT. That is different from the general public.”

Provide one link that such a “special” system exists.

Here is the ACT Government information on travel exemptions:


MP’s are considered essential government workers and can apply for and receive exemptions with specific restrictions that are mandated and controlled by the ACT government as shown.

By the definition you’re attempting to put forward freight workers, furniture removalists, transport workers etc. also are working under “special” systems. It’s just silly partisan semantics.

In reality, the system for politicians is no different than for Joe Public, the ACT Government is just applying risk management principles from the health advice balanced with how essential the work is.

Funny that here I am backing the ACT Government’s processes whilst you’re arguing that they are putting us all at risk and creating special systems and double standards. You mustn’t think very much of them.

I m not arguing the ACT governments rules around pollies are putting anyone at risk. Not sure where you get that idea from.

As for agreeing with you, again spin it how you like but simple fact is pollies have a special set of rules to allow federal parliament to operate. I’ve made no comment on the appropriateness of those rules, or how anyone uses them. But let’s be clear they are not the same rules that Joe public and other essential workers are operating under.

And besides that’s not the issue, as I keep saying it is the optics of the PM flying to Sydney to be with his family when no one else could evening in the same city.

If you are claiming there is a different set of rules, you are claiming that the exemptions provided are not equally assessing the risk profiles of politicians compared to other essential workers and the general public.

That means you think the ACT government is putting us at risk.

Let’s be clear, the rules are exactly the same. A system based on health risks balanced against how essential the work is.

That’s it.

Joe Blow isn’t allowed to do the same because the wider health risks are so much higher and their work or trips have been deemed less essential.

You seem to be hung up on asserting that politicians are getting special treatment but also then don’t want to blame the exact people who set the rules and give that special treatment. It’s very strange.

Governments apply this type of approach everywhere. eg. It’s not “special treatment” that people with drivers licences are allowed to drive cars compared to those who are unlicensed.

Good to see Mr Barr giving out the inoculation figures.
Gives us an idea of how far to go to reach the magic figure of when some sort of normalcy may be expected.
Of course the magic figure seems to be different in every state, and then of course they can alter it from time to time, as they are bound to do.

Patrick Smith1:43 pm 07 Sep 21

What will be the excuse to allow the PM or his family to travel during the school holidays? We are all in this together or so I thought!

Stephen Saunders1:17 pm 07 Sep 21

I have a divine calling, therefore rules don’t apply, is literally how Morrison thinks. While I truly value Barr’s decorum, I just wish a few major public figures in Australia would break ranks to state the bleeding obvious – the Menacing Wallpaper is not fit to lead.

Do we really need partisan political comments?

Mr ScoMo applied for an exemption, met the criteria and his application was granted. Much the same as when Qld’s ALP Premier, went to the Olympics.

Provided process is followed, all’s good regardless of which party the leader comes from

If it is not technically wrong, what else could there be to consider, eh?
Ethics maybe? Equity perhaps?
I have no sympathy for Palaszczuk’s jaunt, but at least hers had a State-beneficial pretext, not pure self-indulgence where so many other fathers were left to wish they could.

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