Household contacts of COVID-positive cases will no longer have to quarantine for seven days from 11.59pm on Tuesday April 26 as long as they remain symptom free and follow a new set of precautions.
Canberrans will be able to regain some elements of freedom, even if someone in their home contracts COVID-19. Less than a third of household contacts in the ACT tested positive for the virus in the last six weeks.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith on Thursday announced the ACT would be following New South Wales and Victoria by allowing household contacts to go back to work or study in certain circumstances.
"The ACT government continues to review COVID-19 requirements to ensure that restrictions remain proportionate," she said.
"These changes to quarantine requirements will provide relief to many workplaces and businesses that have been under pressure due to workforce shortages."
But the change in restrictions doesn't mean that safety precautions are not to be taken seriously by household contacts. Here's what the changing rules will mean for Canberrans.
You are still considered a household contact if someone in your house tests positive for the virus.
The changing rules mean that people in the same house as a positive case will no longer need to quarantine for the full seven days if they have no symptoms.
However, they will still be required to minimise their movements in the community and follow the risk mitigation requirements set out by ACT Health.
Household contacts are required to get a negative COVID test 24 hours before leaving the house for any reason. This can be a rapid antigen test completed at home.
Those with symptoms or who are unable to comply with risk mitigation requirements will still be required to stay home, even if they test negative for COVID, until their symptoms clear up.
People who have had COVID within 12 weeks of becoming a household contact do not need to isolate, quarantine or test.
The first thing to do is to inform ACT Health of your situation through an online declaration form.
For seven days after someone in your house tests positive, you need to:
Yes, as long as you are taking the appropriate measures around testing and risk mitigation.
ACT Health requires all household contacts to avoid situations where spread of the virus would be likely or have negative circumstances, like in aged care facilities or hospitals, unless you require their care.
If you need to attend an unavoidable gathering, such as a funeral or voting in the federal election, you need to return a negative COVID test 24 hours prior to going.
You must otherwise avoid crowded settings, spending extended periods of time indoors with other people, or hanging around anyone in danger of severe illness if they contract COVID-19.
In some situations, yes.
Once you have informed your workplace or education facility that you are a household contact, you may go back into work if agreed to by your employer or institution and you are unable to work from home.
If you do return to work or study, you are required to return a negative COVID test 24 hours prior to attending your workplace.
Continued negative results every 48 hours are also necessary if you are going back in for multiple days within the seven-day period.
It is highly recommended to continue to undertake COVID-safe procedures once back at work, including social distancing and mask wearing.
No. The purpose of the changes is to allow people back to work where they must absolutely return, as long as they are following enhanced COVID-safety protocols. While people can leave quarantine, it is not meant to allow people to catch up with friends.
The Education Directorate will be consulting with unions and other public school stakeholders regarding what rules will be in place for the rest of the term.
Non-government schools will confirm arrangements with staff and families around how they will move forward.
Ms Stephen-Smith also announced upcoming changes to rules for international travellers entering the country in the coming week.
From 11.59pm on Friday April 29, international travellers will still be encouraged to get a COVID test 24 hours after arrival, but quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travellers will be removed.
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