The ACT will lift the COVID-19 hotspot declarations on all local government areas in Sydney except for Cumberland.
Anyone who is currently in quarantine after visiting one of the nine previously COVID-19-affected areas will be allowed to leave.
They are: Blacktown, Canada Bay City, Burwood, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Fairfield, Inner West, Parramatta and Strathfield.
Canberrans who have been in Cumberland, in Sydney's west, in the past fortnight can come home but are required to quarantine for 14 days upon return.
Non-ACT residents who have recently been in the remaining hotspot are not allowed to enter the territory without an exemption.
ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said Cumberland remained classed as a COVID-19 affected area due to incubation period of people in quarantine.
"The last date in which someone was there was January 15 which means if we are going to wait for that 14 day incubation period that takes us to towards the end next week," Dr Coleman said.
"So we need at least an extra week just to monitor what happens in Cumberland before that comes off."
Dr Coleman said if nothing else happened in Cumberland over the next week she would look to remove the area from ACT's list of COVID-affected areas.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said anyone currently in quarantine in the ACT who had visited any of the nine areas removed from the list would no longer need to quarantine.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Mr Barr said ACT Health would personally inform those people of the change by SMS or email.
"I understand this will mean 449 of the 561 [people in quarantine] will come out of quarantine from 3pm today," he said.
"The removal of all but one of Sydney's LGAs is a reflection of the vastly improved situation in Sydney and no new locally acquired cases in NSW this week."
Mr Barr announced new public health direction has come into place to make face masks mandatory when traveling to and from the ACT by plane, and while in transit at Canberra Airport.
The direction will come into effect at 11.59pm on Friday.
"This direction is in line with the consistent policy for all domestic air travel across Australia," Mr Barr said.
"This new direction means that people aged 12 years and above, including workers who interact with the public, must wear face masks whilst inside the Canberra Airport terminal and during domestic commercial flights into and out of Canberra.
"Face masks will not be required outside the terminal, but passengers embarking and disembarking a flight on the tarmac ... you must wear your face mask.
"People will be permitted to remove their face mask to ascertain their identity going through the security section or of course when eating or drinking or taking medication both at an airport terminal and during flights."
Mr Barr said people would be able to remove their masks during an emergency and to communicate effectively with others, for instance, when communicating with someone who was deaf or hard of hearing.
Infants and children younger than 12 are exempt from the new direction, along with people with a disability or a medical condition where wearing face masks are unsuitable.
Mr Barr said bandanas and scarves were not acceptable face coverings, and urged travelers to wear single use or reusable face masks that fit securely on their face, covering the nose and mouth.
He said airport police would advise travellers of their requirement to wear masks.
"I think if they disobeyed an order from the police they would probably be subject to some further action but that would be at the discretion of the Australian Federal Police at the airport," he said.
ACT Health released the following advice for wearing masks effectively:
- Single-use face masks can be worn continuously for up to four hours if they don't become moist;
- Single-use masks must not be reused and should be disposed of safely after use;
- Reusable face masks should be washed and dried after use and stored in a clean, dry place;
- Use a new single-use or reusable face mask for each new situation;
- Avoid touching and playing with face masks unnecessarily.
Mr Barr reminded Canberrans who were planning to travel interstate for Australia Day to keep up with COVID-19 restrictions in different states and territories.
Mr Barr said the 20 federal government charted repatriation flights were discussed at National Cabinet on Friday, and confirmed at least two of those flights would come to the ACT.
"The first will arrive in the first half of February and the second is likely to be in the first half of March," he said.
"Passengers will be quarantined in accordance with previous arrangements."
Mr Barr said further details on the flight would be announced next month.
ACT health minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said while restrictions on travel to the ACT had eased, measures were still in place for people visiting high risk settings.
High-risk settings include correctional facilities, hospitals and aged care centres.
People who have visited Northern Beaches Council, City of Canterbury Bankstown, Cumberland City Council, Blacktown City Council can not visit or work in a high-risk settings for 14 days after leaving the area.
Ms Stephen-Smith reminded Canberrans West Belconnen COVID-19 testing clinic at the West Belconnen Child and Family Centre will no longer operate as COVID-19 testing clinic after today.
"The facility will return to delivering child and family services in time for the beginning of the 2021 school year," she said.
"I want to say an enormous thankyou to the staff and the community for the work with us in that testing facility.
"More than 7500 presentations for testing have been made at that facility since it was opened as a testing site on July 13 last year."
Ms Stephen-Smith said due to the extreme heat over the weekend the Kambah drive-through testing site would be closed from tomorrow until Monday, and is due to reopen January 26.
She reminded Canberrans to be prepared for the heatwave and to look out for those more vulnerable.
Free COVID-19 testing remains available at drive-through sites at Garran Oval, Weston Creek, and EPIC.
Free tests can be accessed by appointment YourGP@Crace and Lakeview Medical Practice in Tuggeranong on weekdays, and at Winnunga Nimmityjah Respiratory Clinic.
For faster access to the latest Canberra news, download The Canberra Times app for iOS and Android.