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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Chief Minister says 2021 will be like 2020, border restrictions extended

Border restrictions between ACT and NSW will be extended for at least another week and Chief Minister Andrew Barr warned of ‘random breath testing’ style enforcement checks within ACT borders during an announcement this morning, 5 December.

“You may not be stopped at the border, but it is possible – highly likely – that if you are here in breach of a public health direction you will be stopped somewhere inside the ACT,” he said.

Mr Barr said there were about 300,000 cars on the road in Canberra daily, and roughly 10% had NSW licence plates which “narrowed the focus of compliance” for ACT Policing.

ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said the next review point for the border restrictions will be Tuesday 12 January. 

“For those of you who live and travel to regional New South Wales areas that surround the ACT, as long as you have not been in any of the COVID-19 areas you do not need an exemption and you can pass in and out of the ACT,” she said.

Concerned about community transmission in NSW hotspots, Dr Coleman said ACT residents should not travel to Greater Sydney and vice versa. 

Mr Barr said public health measures will continue to be proportionate and warned they will be a common feature of 2021. 

“These measures are designed to reduce risk, it’s not possible to completely eliminate risk.” 

“It’s obviously not started the way that we wanted it to, and in fact 2021 is going to be a lot like 2020.”

He said COVID-19 outbreaks should be expected in the future.

“The situation we find ourselves in now with closed borders is something that we will experience from week to week and month to month throughout this year.”

“There will continue to be outbreaks, there will be localised clusters like we’ve seen in NSW and this is going to continue for some time to come, even after vaccines start being rolled out.” 

The Chief Minister reminded Canberrans that while the vaccines were designed to stop people getting sick, they might not stop the virus from spreading. 

“So we are in this for the long haul.”

There are no active cases of COVID-19 in the Territory and there are about 2,700 people in quarantine in line with public health directions.

Visit www.covid19.act.gov.au or call the ACT COVID-19 helpline on 02 6207 7244 if you have questions. The Helpline operates between 8am and 8pm daily.

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