The ACT has mirrored NSW in extending its stay-at-home requirements for anyone who has been to Greater Sydney and surrounding regions since June 21 as the latest Sydney Covid outbreak worsens.
The NSW government on Saturday announced current stay-at-home orders had been extended across all of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong from 6pm Saturday until 11.59pm on July 9.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the situation was extremely serious and things could change rapidly.
He said that if the virus made it to the territory, the government would act decisively and quickly to provide a "city wide response".
We've been here before, we know what we have to do, let's keep each other safe and do the right thing now.Chief Minister Andrew Barr
"There is the potential in the days ahead that we may need to move on restrictions, but at the moment we have no active Covid cases," he said.
"For now, we're going to monitor the situation in NSW. As things evolve, we will evolve our response.
"We cannot stress enough how important it is that you not travel between the ACT and the Greater Sydney region at this time."
Mr Barr said compliance would be increased during the period with ACT Health working closely with ACT Policing and Access Canberra to focus on spot checks for people crossing the border.
"ACT Policing and Access Canberra will be working closely with licensed venues and other businesses in the ACT on compliance with our existing Covid restrictions," he said.
"We're asking everyone to be careful now. This next period is one of heightened anxiety and concern.
"As I've said previously, this is the most concerning experience this year and the risks are significant."
He said there had been about 1100 tests in the past 24 hours to Saturday in the ACT and that had given officials a good level of surveillance.
He also encouraged any one showing any symptoms to get tested.
While the government has not introduced any new restrictions in Canberra in general, Mr Barr said tightening restrictions remained "a very real possibility in the days ahead and we will move quickly to respond should there be any cases in the ACT".
"We are very, very worried about the days ahead," he said.
"We've been here before, we know what we have to do, let's keep each other safe and do the right thing now."
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said anyone in Canberra from Sydney who did not think they could meet the stay-at-home requirements for the duration should head home.
"All public health directions are enforceable, they're subject to on-the-spot fines or to be taken to court," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
She said the border would not be closed to NSW residents due to resources.
ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said Canberrans who had not been to the NSW hotspots recently could still travel to other parts of the state but to watch updates carefully.
Dr Coleman said transit through Sydney Airport did not present issues but urged people to reduce the chance of exposure by wearing masks and following hygiene procedures.
"My thoughts are with our NSW colleagues at the moment. This is proving an extremely difficult variant of the coronavirus," she said.
The NSW announcement comes after updated health advice from the NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant about the growing risk, with the latest outbreak now at 80 cases.
ACT Health data showed there had been 18,994 NSW submitted self-declarations since 6pm on June 23.
These were broken into 16,262 self-declarations only (no stay-at-home) and 2732 stay-at-home orders.
Stay at home requirements
If you are currently in the ACT or a returning ACT resident and were in Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong on or after June 21, you must do the following:
- Complete an online declaration form within 24 hours from the start of the new stay-at-home requirements.
- Travel directly to the residence where you will spend the stay-at-home period. You should leave the residence only for an approved essential purpose - shopping for food and other essential goods, medical care and compassionate needs, exercise and work and study where you cannot do so from home.
- Everyone aged 12 years and older must wear a mask if leaving their premises for any essential purposes. Mask wearing is not required if undertaking vigorous exercise outdoors.
If you are a non-ACT resident subject to the requirements and you cannot complete them safely in the ACT, you are urged to return home.
For non-ACT residents in Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong on or after June 21, you are not allowed to enter the ACT without an approved exemption.
Exemptions are granted only for extraordinary circumstances. If an exemption is approved, stay-at-home orders still need to be followed.
A stay at home requirement is different from quarantine because you can leave for various essential reasons. Further information is available on ACT's Covid website.
Latest ACT Covid statistics
- 1091 test results in the 24 hours to Saturday
- 232,846 total negative tests
- 78,656 total vaccinations
- 1215 vaccines administer yesterday
- 22 close contacts who have visited NSW exposure locations
- 208 casual contacts who have visited NSW exposure locations
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