CHIEF Minister Andrew Barr this afternoon (March 30) pleaded Canberrans to stay in Canberra and to not self-isolate at the south coast, describing it as “extraordinarily selfish”.
“There will always be circumstances [such as] exceptions for compassionate reasons that people may need to travel but the idea that you just go down there for a holiday [is really] selfish,” Mr Barr said.
“We’ve heard very clearly from local mayors [and] local members that people really should not [go].”
Mr Barr said there’s a number of reasons why Canberrans should not be going down to the coast at this time, with one reason being the risk of spreading the virus, and another being a lack of resources there.
“Firstly, there is a risk of spreading the virus and that’s the principle reason why you should not go,” he said.
“Secondly, the range of services, health services and others that are available at the coast are significantly less than here in Canberra. And those smaller communities do not have the capacity to support thousands of extra people.
“There are no ICU beds in any of the south coast hospitals. Those communities [also] do not need extra people shopping in their supermarkets at the moment so if you are a Canberran, you should be staying in Canberra. That is the best thing that you can do for the south coast communities and for your own community.
“It’s clear from media reports and indeed from correspondents from people in the south coast that they are not particularly welcoming of Canberrans down there at the moment. As they mayors have said, there are people who own property there, and so ultimately there is not a legal sanction here, there is just an incredibly strong guidance to think about this for a moment.”