ACT eases border restrictions for some parts of NSW

Commonwealth avenue and bridge over Burley Griffin lake in Canberra between city CBD and federal government capital hill triangle area with local streets, roads, parks and buildings.

The ACT government has announced a number of changes to travel restrictions from COVID-affected areas of NSW.

The state’s public health direction has been amended to remove the Central Coast and Wollongong from the list of COVID-affected areas in NSW, as well as some areas of Greater Sydney.

It will mean people currently in quarantine in the ACT from the Central Coast, Wollongong and some areas of Greater Sydney will no longer be required to do so.

However, the government said a public health direction will remain in place for certain areas of Western and South-western Sydney.

This means that ACT residents and non-residents who have been in the 11 red-flagged local government areas (LGAs) at any time in the past 14 days will need to complete their quarantine period.

The 11 LGAs are the Northern Beaches, Blacktown, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, the Inner West, Liverpool, Paramatta, and Strathfield.

ACT residents can return home, but will need to notify ACT Health of their intention to return via our online declaration form and enter quarantine for 14 days.

Non-ACT residents are legally not permitted to enter the ACT without a valid exemption. If people who have been in these areas in the last 14 days need to travel to the ACT for extraordinary circumstances, they need to apply for an exemption at least three days prior to their travel.

People who have applied for an exemption who have indicated they have been in the areas which are no longer COVID-affected areas will receive an email from for ACT Health.

ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said that while the removal of some areas from the public health direction is a positive step forward, it’s not a sign for people to start lowering their guard.

“Although the situation in NSW has stabilised, there remain some areas that continue to see cases where NSW has been unable to detect a source or link to a known infection,” she said.

“While NSW continues to get on top of these clusters, these areas still pose a high enough risk to the ACT to retain the existing travel and quarantine requirements for anyone coming from these areas. We also urge people from these areas to not travel to the ACT at this time.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with our NSW counterparts.”

Dr Coleman said the ACT’s current restrictions will remain in place until at least Tuesday 19 January 2021 when the government will reassess the situation.

The ACT’s updated border restrictions for NSW comes after Victoria reclassified regional NSW, including the Central Coast, as an ‘orange zone’ as part of its new ‘traffic light’ permit system for domestic travel.

Earlier this week, the ACT followed the Northern Territory’s lead in no longer classifying Greater Brisbane as a COVID hotspot, following a three-day snap lockdown of the region by the Queensland government.

The change means that both ACT residents and non-residents who have been in Greater Brisbane on or after 2 January 2021 are no longer required to quarantine in the territory.

Featured image source: iStock/zetter

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