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Sunday, July 25, 2021

ACT strikes Shoalhaven from travel ban list

ACT Health has this morning corrected yesterday’s travel advice, striking the Shoalhaven municipality from their list of locations requiring a 14-day quarantine upon entry to the Capital, comprising Greater Sydney and its surroundings.

A Public Health Direction signed into effect by ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman last night advised anyone travelling to the ACT from Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Illawarra-Shoalhaven and the Blue Mountains areas from 11.59pm 20 December will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine.

This was corrected overnight from “Illawarra-Shoalhaven” to just the “Wollongong” Local Government Area; with material across the ACT COVID-19 website adjusted accordingly.

The correction came after anecdotal reports the Kings Highway was bumper-to-bumper as Canberrans on the NSW South Coast yesterday evening cancelled their holidays to rush home, under the impression they’d have to quarantine if they were to travel home to the ACT from the Shoalhaven region any later than 11.59pm.

“We’re extremely sorry,” Dr Coleman said this morning. “All I could say is that I hope people take that apology, and we are working in good faith to try and represent the situation as accurately as possible.

“We were working off the information we had from NSW Health … we’re doing everything we can to update the information as much as possible this morning.”

The ACT Government’s COVID-19 helpline had been inundated with calls overnight and this morning from people seeking clarification on the new travel restrictions.

At 9.45 this morning there were 691 callers on hold with the helpline; there were reports earlier this morning of 2,310 calls in queue.

“We expect patience from people, we’re really trying to clarify the information in the best possible way,” Dr Coleman said.

“This morning we are working very hard to clarify the key messages so we can try and reduce the need for people to call.

“We’re also working to have the adequate number of people on the staff line, but I must say that we can probably never have enough people to meet the needs of everyone at the big peak in time post a massive change like this.”

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