Anyone in the ACT who was in Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021 must go into a 14-day quarantine immediately and fill out an ACT Health declaration form by 3pm Saturday, 9 January.
The decision, announced by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr on Friday afternoon comes after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk imposed a hard and fast three-day lockdown in Greater Brisbane from 6pm tonight, 8 January.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman strongly encouraged Canberrans currently in the COVID-19 hotspot to remain in Greater Brisbane until the scheduled end of the lockdown at 6pm Monday 11 January.
“If you are an ACT resident currently in Greater Brisbane we advise you to follow Queensland Health’s advice to remain in Greater Brisbane until the end of the lockdown period, unless it is absolutely essential for you to return to the ACT,” she said.
The Greater Brisbane area includes the Local Government Areas of Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan.
Travellers returning to the ACT from the affected area in Queensland will be required to fill out an online declaration form prior to travelling, quarantine for 14 days and get tested.
Any residents or visitors who were in Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021 and have already returned must do the same, with their quarantine to end 14 days after they were last in the hotspot.
Dr Coleman said she will review these restrictions on 9 January.
Why is this happening?
The new measures are in response to a COVID-19 outbreak of the highly infectious United Kingdom variant of the virus, with the cluster believed to have originated from a leak in a Queensland hotel quarantine facility.
National Cabinet met this morning for an extended discussion and Mr Barr said Ms Palaszczuk’s decision was “unanimously endorsed”.
“We need to stop the spread of the UK strain of the virus,” he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted that the Greater Brisbane lockdown “will buy much-needed time”.
Dr Coleman said she understood some local accommodation providers would be hesitant to accept guests in the ACT who have been in COVID-19 hotspots, including Greater Brisbane.
But she said the ACT response was precautionary and bookings should not be cancelled.
“I’m really asking you to honour your guests’ bookings and receive them into your hotels.”
Fragments of virus detected in South Coast sewerage plant
Mr Barr also announced that, for the first time, COVID-19 fragments were identified at an Ulladulla sewerage treatment plant that has a catchment including Milton, Mollymook Beach, Ulladulla, Kings Point, Burrel Lake, Dolphin Point, Narrawallee and Lake Tabouree.
“If you have recently been in those areas, monitor for symptoms and get tested if you have even the mildest symptoms,” he said.
“ACT Government tests our sewerage every week and there have been no virus fragments detected this year.”
International repatriation flights cut
International arrivals will be reduced across the country following the emergency meeting of the National Cabinet.
Mr Barr said a chartered repatriation flight that the ACT was expecting this month will not go ahead.
“It is my expectation we would not take a flight until mid-February at the earliest.”
National Cabinet will now meet at least every fortnight and the ACT Chief Minister assured Canberrans that he will share information about the proposed local vaccination rollout in the coming weeks.
There are no active COVID-19 cases in the ACT, with 2,900 people in quarantine.
In the past 24 hours there were 947 tests, bringing the total to over 143,000 negative tests.