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SA travellers being tested at Canberra Airport

ACT Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 cluster in South Australia, setting up a screening and testing station for flights arriving from the state into Canberra Airport.

The station commenced operations last night (Monday 16 November), with about 250 passengers arriving at Canberra Airport from Adelaide across two flights.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said five people were isolating while awaiting their test results after arriving in the national capital overnight.

Around 250 people arrived yesterday evening and another 75 this morning. All of those people were met by Health Protections staff, to identify if they had any symptoms or if they had been in any places that were potentially a risk in terms of transmission of the coronavirus,” she said.

Of the 250 who arrived last night, five were identified as having symptoms and had their swab tests taken at the airport … and were asked to self-isolate until those results came back.

This morning I am advised that of the 75-odd people who went through the screening at the airport, none of them were required to undergo a test for COVID-19.”

Currently, there are 19 positive COVID-19 cases in South Australia.

Another flight from Adelaide is set to arrive in the ACT at 1.20pm today, as part of the 19 flights operating from Adelaide to Canberra weekly.

About 40 travellers arrived at the Canberra Airport from Adelaide at 1:20pm today. Photo Kerrie Brewer.

The ACT, NSW and Victoria are the only jurisdictions yet to close their borders to SA, with Minister Stephen-Smith stating the Territory would work closely with NSW on the decision. 

“It is really difficult for the ACT to impose a hard border if NSW does not do that. What we really don’t want is have people flying into Sydney … and driving into Canberra when we don’t know they are here,” she said. 

“We would actually rather, if people are coming back into the ACT, that they are flying in and we know and can do that health screening for them.”

Canberra residents are being urged to reconsider non-essential travel or monitor symptoms for 14 days following a visit to South Australia.

Ms Stephen-Smith also confirmed the ACT would not be receiving a return flight from overseas this week, following the news the Territory would bring 360 Australians home before Christmas.

“We won’t have a flight coming in this week, we are working very closely with the Commonwealth on our arrangements for hotel quarantine,” she said.

“What we are seeing out of SA is there is risks associated with hotel quarantine and absolutely minimising that is what we are endeavouring to do and we are not going to take a flight until we have crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s.”

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