IN light of the coronavirus outbreaks unfolding in Victoria, ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith is advising Canberrans to not travel to the greater metropolitan area of Melbourne.
“We have previously advised people not to travel to the identified hot spots in Victoria and we are now expanding that to encourage people to reconsider their need to travel to the greater metropolitan area of Melbourne,” Ms Stephen-Smith says.
“If you don’t need to go to the greater metropolitan area of Melbourne, we would strongly advise against doing that. While the risk is not enormous, it is enough for us to want to be very, very cautious.”
Canberra’s acting chief health officer Dr Vanessa Johnston echoes Ms Stephen-Smith’s advice, saying: “Our position in the ACT continues to be strong. To keep it this way, I would like to remind Canberrans that they should not be travelling to any areas in Victoria that have been identified as a hotspot for outbreaks and community transmission and they should consider any travel, at this time, to the greater Melbourne metropolitan area as a precautionary measure.”
The hotspots identified by the Victorian government have not changed since last Friday, and include Keilor Downs, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Broadmeadows, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham.
“ACT residents should not travel to any of these areas and should reconsider non-essential travel to the greater Melbourne metropolitan area to avoid the risk of bring COVID back into the act,” Dr Johnston says.
“Anyone whose recently travelled from these hotspot suburbs, including Canberrans shouldn’t visit aged care facilities, hospital or other places where there are vulnerable people for a period of 14 days.”
Dr Johnston says she understands there is genuine apprehension in the community, particularly among those who are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 disease than others.
“I want to reassure the community that we are closely monitoring the situation in Victoria and that we have the full confidence in the Victorian government’s health response to this outbreak,” she says.
“They have identified the area in their community where there are outbreaks and evidence of community transmission, and they are responding appropriately.”