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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Next round of returning travellers to land in Canberra tonight

The ACT Government will welcome a planeload of international travellers tonight, 1 March, one week since hotel quarantine ended for the last batch of returning citizens and residents who landed in Canberra from India on 8 February.

At 7.45pm today, a Government-facilitated flight from Singapore carrying between 150 to 180 passengers in transit from Asia and Europe, including Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Portugal, will be greeted by authorities.

A chartered bus will transport passengers to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at Pacific Suites Canberra, on Northbourne Avenue.

ACT Health says it has worked closely with Canberra Airport, ACT Policing, the Australian Defence Force and the Commonwealth Government “to ensure the safe arrival and care of these returned travellers throughout the hotel quarantine period”.

The Directorate won’t know how many passengers to expect until take-off, given some ticket holders may not board the flight.

All incoming passengers will be required to submit to a COVID-19 test on day one and again on day 13 of their time in quarantine, and participate in a health screening.

ACT Health assures Canberrans it has a “robust quarantine program” with measures in place to protect quarantine staff, contain positive cases, and support the wellbeing of returning travellers in quarantine.

Before February’s flight arrived from India, the ACT Government reviewed all hotel quarantine arrangements and introduced a daily saliva test for hotel quarantine staff, in addition to the existing system of weekly nasal swab tests.

A Government spokesperson said they were confident in the arrangements and safeguards in place.

“As we do for after every flight, the ACT Government has reviewed it’s processes from the most recent flight and we are very happy with how everything went,” they said.

The hotel quarantine workforce has started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine under phase 1a of Australia’s the national rollout strategy.

There is only one Canberra accommodation provider able to meet ACT Health’s specific requirements of fresh air, balcony and kitchenette required to participate in the program, meaning the ACT can only welcome one flight at a time.

After the New Zealand travel bubble was compromised by a COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland, expeditioners and crew from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) are the only international arrivals exempt from home or hotel quarantine upon landing in the ACT, according to the ACT Government website.

The class exemption applies to expeditioners and crew who returned to Australia directly from AAD stations operated by the Australian Government, including Casey, Davis and Mawson stations.

Crew members of a flight or ship that travelled to these stations are also exempt.

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 www.covid19.act.gov.au.

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