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Sunday, July 25, 2021

ACT border checkpoint identifies drivers returning from NSW hotspots

As of today, 22 December, ACT Policing will conduct extra compliance checks on the Federal Highway in Majura and other locations around the border, to confirm drivers who have been in hotspots in NSW understand their obligation to quarantine in the ACT.

ACT Policing Detective Superintendent Matthew Heather said police were pulling over about 300 cars an hour at the border checkpoint and had already identified people who must go into quarantine.

“We have had a couple of people coming from the hotspots, and they’ve gone ahead and made a declaration before entering the ACT,” he said.

Another ACT Policing spokesperson confirmed volunteers may also be asked to contribute to compliance activities across the Territory.

“ACT Policing has had preliminary discussions with ACT Emergency Services Agency about the possible availability of volunteers to support compliance activities,” the spokesperson said.

ACT Policing will perform random checks, asking drivers where they are coming from and whether they understand the health directives. Image: Kerrie Brewer

The news comes after NSW beat its record for the highest number of COVID-19 tests conducted in a 24-hour period, with more than 44,000 people tested yesterday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced there were eight cases of community transmission recorded overnight, seven of which were linked to the Avalon cluster.

The eighth person to test positive was a transport nurse who worked with patients in quarantine.

“So, in fact, the eighth case could be an overseas acquired case,” Ms Berejiklian said.

ACT Policing may patrol various parts of the border in the coming days, and the current focus was the “main thoroughfare” that is the Federal Highway.

Detective Superintendent Heather said the roadside checkpoint will not be a permanent fixture, it will come and go as required.

A policeman explains the measures in force to monitor the ACT border.
ACT Policing Detective Superintendent Matthew Heather. Image: Kerrie Brewer

“It may become a mobile patrol at times, or if we need to, we’ll re-set up and have a more permanent check stop here.

“But that will depend on need.”

ACT Policing’s key message for the public was that non-ACT residents who have been to Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Wollongong and Nepean Blue Mountains should not visit the Territory.

No one will be turned around; however, police will ensure drivers coming from a hotspot register their arrival and quarantine for 14 days.

“ACT Police are well resourced, we can move resources around if we need to, and this is scaleable depending on the risk.”

He said the main focus was to make sure people come in and out safely and the delays were insignificant.

Detective Superintendent Heather said he was very confident ACT Policing had the appropriate systems in place to manage compliance activity, including checking that those quarantining were following the rules.

He said it was difficult to predict how many people would be quarantining in the Territory compared to previous months.

“We do expect, given the time of year and the size of the location that’s been declared a hotspot in NSW, that the numbers [of people in quarantine] might go up a bit.”

Speaking this morning, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant confirmed there was community transmission occurring outside the Sydney Northern Beaches.

“At about midnight last night we uploaded another 50-odd venues.

“Keep alert and share that information with your friends as well.”

Premier Berejiklian said the growing number of venues impacted by COVID-19-positive patrons was of concern.

Speaking about the transport nurse who contracted the virus, Dr Chant said it was a credit to the system that this kind of transmission event was picked up.

“Part of the issue is that occasional transmission events will occur, but the fact that the person came forward for testing means that the system is right, in that we can prevent further transmission to the community.

“I think it’s inevitable that these issues will arise, we try our best to minimise them, but it is about the response moving forward,” Dr Chant said.

Police inspect a truck crossing the ACT border bearing the name of a Western Sydney suburb. Image: Kerrie Brewer

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