Canberra will turn back Victorians from virus hotspots

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ACT chief health officer Kerryn Coleman. Photo: Holly Treadaway

THE ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman has announced a new public health direction preventing Victorians from COVID-19 hotspots from travelling into Canberra. 

Passengers on inbound flights from Melbourne will now be required to provide identification when they arrive at Canberra Airport to support this new direction.

Anyone identified as having been in a COVID-19 hotspot in Victoria will be required to quarantine in the ACT for 14 days at their own expense or return to their home jurisdiction at the earliest reasonable opportunity.

As part of the direction, anyone already in the ACT who has been in a COVID-19 hotspot is strongly encouraged to quarantine for 14 days from the date they left the hotspot, even if they do not have any symptoms.

“We’re aware of all the direct flights, trains and buses that come in and at those times we will have people at those relevant hubs greeting passengers as they get off,” Dr Coleman says. 

“We won’t be conducting health screening, what we will be doing is having a conversation with people, asking for them for proof of their residential address, cross-checking that if that is in the COVID hotspot postcode but also just confirming if they’ve been in a hotspot code within the past few days.” 

Penalties and fines may apply to people who fail to comply with the direction, says the ACT government.

The chief health officer says anyone coming into the ACT from the greater Melbourne metropolitan area is also asked to closely monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. It’s important to get tested for even the mildest of symptoms.

Canberrans should not be planning on visiting any of the affected postcodes, and all non-essential travel to Melbourne should be reconsidered for the foreseeable future, Dr Coleman says.

“The situation in Melbourne is concerning and has evolved quickly in the past week,” she says.

“COVID-19 cases have increased significantly, and this direction will help to protect Canberrans and our most vulnerable community members from the potential spread of COVID-19.”

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