The ACT's chief health officer said thinking about all the factors that will need to be taken into account when setting rules for travel as COVID-19 lockdowns are relaxed "screws my head up a little bit".
Dr Kerryn Coleman said public health officials were currently considering how the ACT would manage rules for travel across its border, with work under way to develop a more refined approach.
"It's a very interesting question and one thing we're all having a conversation about. I have not a very good idea at the moment about the timeframe of our transition. Clearly we will get to a point where there will be a degree of community transmission, and how that tends up and down I must admit I'm not really sure," Dr Coleman said.
The chief health officer said eventually there would be a consistent level of COVID-19 cases within the Canberra community that the risk of the virus getting into the territory due to travel movement would be lower, because the additional case would not add significantly to the ACT's case load.
"I think we've also talked about where people are vaccinated or unvaccinated and our public health approach to that based on their risk of both catching the virus and also being able to transmit needs, [so] to be factored into those decisions [about travels]," Dr Coleman said.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith acknowledged there would be some issues around different rules on either side of the ACT-NSW border but people had managed throughout the pandemic and would again need to carefully follow the rules, with which most people had generally complied.
"There will come a point where there's not a lot of point in restricting that travel within our region if we're kind of seeing cases bubbling along both in the ACT and in our surrounding regions, and potentially seeding backwards and forwards already," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT was waiting for further advice from the NSW cross-border commissioner as to how the state would treat the ACT once Greater Sydney residents were permitted to travel into regional NSW.
The ACT's COVID-19 pathway forward said the territory would revisit the issue of regional travel from October 29. Lockdown is due to end in the ACT by October 15.
"I know the team has also been thinking about how we look at a slightly wider region than the current postcodes we've identified and whether we relax some level of travel restrictions between the ACT and those postcodes, that wider region," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT was also considering whether it would allow greater movement for people to reunite with family member while some limits remained on tourism activity.
"Those are the things that we're currently working through. At the moment we don't have all of the detail around that, but we'll continue to work on it and we'll let people know any changes as soon as we can," she said.
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