Applying border restrictions to NSW would be an “absolute last resort”, according to ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, as COVID-19 clusters in Sydney’s Liverpool and Campbelltown regions have prompted strong travel warnings.
“It would be a very extreme circumstance where we would be closing our border to NSW or indeed NSW might be closing their border to us,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
“We clearly have a lot of interdependency with our local Canberra region, particularly Queanbeyan where there is a lot of workforce moving backwards and forward, including essential workers.”
Ms Stephen-Smith today urged Canberrans not to travel to Liverpool or Campbelltown NSW, where the recent COVID-19 outbreaks have been identified, outside of doing so under urgent circumstances.
A total of 27 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in NSW since Monday 13 July, with no evidence of community transmission.
“We would work very closely with NSW if we were starting to see community transmission in different areas about how we might manage any kind of restrictions,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
Canberrans who visited the Crossroads Hotel at Casula between 3 and 10 July 2020 – as well as people who visited the Picton Hotel on Saturday 4 July, Thursday 9 July, or Friday 10 July – are urged to isolate immediately and get in touch with ACT Health through the COVID-19 Helpline on 6207-7244.
“For anyone else, please do go and only get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said they will monitor the situation in NSW over the coming days and weeks for any signs of community transmission, and then offer any more significant travel advice or NSW border restrictions accordingly.
“That is when we might start to consider whether there are benefits to providing some strong travel advice to not be travelling to those regions,” she said.
ACT COVID-19 cases update
Today marked the fifth consecutive day with no new cases in the ACT, while the five cases announced last week all remain active.
To date, the ACT Government have received 880 exemption requests for people travelling from Victoria, 80 of which remain to be processed.
Dr Coleman said data on the number that have been granted or declined is currently unavailable, pending “further analysis”.
There are currently 440 arrivals from Victoria quarantining in the ACT.
The number of negative tests in the ACT is now 37,443, with 323 negative test results coming through in the last 24 hours.
At least 2,750 negative tests have been returned since the new testing centres were announced on Friday 10 July.
The ACT Government has a dedicated COVID-19 website for all information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT. For further information, visit covid19.act.gov.au
The ACT Government also has a helpline to assist Canberrans through the challenges of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Helpline is 6207 7244 and open between 8am and 8pm daily.
You can apply for an exemption to travel to the ACT from Victoria here: covid19.act.gov.au/exemption-application