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Free travel between Canberra and Sydney suspended due to Northern Beaches coronavirus outbreak

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The ACT will require all people entering Canberra from Greater Sydney and its surrounds to self-declare and quarantine from midnight tonight.

Residents of the affected areas have been told not to travel to the capital and Canberrans returning from them will be required to quarantine at home for 14 days from their time of entry.

The move to close the ACT to people from Greater Sydney and surrounding local government areas follows similar decisions by states and territories across the country.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the restrictions would apply to people from Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Illawarra-Shoalhaven and Nepean Blue Mountains.

“If you are an ACT resident returning, you will be required to undertake 14 days’ quarantine if you return after 11:59pm tonight,” she said.

“If you are not an ACT resident, please do not come to the ACT.

“This will be managed by a declaration process rather than a permit process.”

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ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen Smith announced the restrictions on travel.

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said transmission of COVID-19 in Sydney outside of the Northern Beaches was of concern to authorities in Canberra.

“What we are trying to achieve here is to prevent seeding of the virus any further,” she said.

“For this reason, the ACT will be effectively closed to people from Greater Sydney and these surrounding regions.

“While we will not have these restrictions any longer than we need to, we need the community to be prepared that this is likely to continue over Christmas and potentially into the new year.”

The ACT has also recorded one case of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine — its first in nearly a month.

Government requires travellers to self-declare

Anybody travelling to Canberra from one of the affected areas will have to fill out a form declaring they are entering the ACT.

They will then be required to privately quarantine, not leaving their home for any reason for 14 days.

“To implement this, all travellers from Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Illawarra-Shoalhaven and Nepean Blue Mountains will be required to notify us in advance by completing an online declaration form,” Dr Coleman said.

“We are hoping to have this form up later this evening and it will be available and running by midnight tonight.”

Dr Coleman said while the restrictions would come into force from midnight, some common-sense leniency would be shown.

She urged people to be patient and safe if they decided to come home tonight in light of the restrictions.

“Clearly if you are on the road and make it some time overnight that’s OK,” she said.

The border regime will require people to self-declare their entry into the ACT, but Ms Stephen-Smith warned there would be penalties for anybody who did not comply.

“There will be penalties and fines that are applicable,” she said.

 

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