19 May 2021

Sydney removed from ACT COVID-19 risk area but Melbourne areas still a concern

| Michael Weaver
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Rachel Stephen-Smith and Kerryn Coleman

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith and Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman have extended the public health emergency for another 90 days in the ACT. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Anyone from the Greater Sydney area can now travel freely to Canberra after the ACT Government lifted COVID-19 restrictions today (19 May), meaning the Sydney area is no longer classified as an ACT COVID-19 area of concern.

People who have been to Greater Sydney in the past 14 days are also again able to attend high-risk settings in the ACT such as hospitals, residential aged care facilities, correctional facilities and residential accommodation facilities that support people who require frequent, close personal care and who are vulnerable to severe disease.

Staff who have been in Greater Sydney in the past 14 days who provide home-based aged care and disability services that involve close physical contact with clients are also able to resume providing in-home care.

Today’s announcement comes a day after Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith announced an extension of the ACT Public Health Emergency for a further 90 days until 16 August.

“The decision to extend the Public Health Emergency has been made based on advice provided by the ACT Health Chief Health Officer and recognises that COVID-19 poses an ongoing risk to the ACT community,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

The extension of the emergency declaration enables the Chief Health Officer to continue to take appropriate action or give any direction necessary to protect the health and safety of Canberrans.

“While we remain in a good position in the ACT, it is likely we will continue to see cases and clusters of COVID-19 across the country. Extending the Public Health Emergency Declaration ensures the Chief Health Officer can continue to take action in response to potential outbreaks,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

She said the focus is on increasing capacity and improving operations for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The ACT Government will continue to work with the Commonwealth Government and other healthcare providers to ensure we can deliver a safe, effective and accessible COVID-19 vaccine program in the ACT,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“As restrictions continue to ease across the country and with more people travelling, we must not be complacent.”

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Travel requirements for Victoria remain in place, meaning anyone who has visited Greater Melbourne since 6 May should continue to check the COVID-19 Areas of Concern web page to see if they have been in any of the exposure locations.

The Health Minister also urged Canberrans not to be complacent

“We must continue to practice the COVID-safe behaviours that have become so familiar to us – keep your physical distance where possible, practice good hand hygiene, stay home if you are unwell and get tested for any COVID-19 symptoms,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

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