23 July 2020

ACT's COVID-19 easing put back two weeks

| Ian Bushnell
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr: ”with new cases being confirmed every day across NSW, we need to be more cautious.” Photo: File.

The ACT Government has postponed its planned easing of COVID-19 restrictions for a further two weeks as the number of people in quarantine soar.

On advice from the ACT Chief Health Officer, the implementation of Stage 3 restrictions will not go ahead and current restrictions as outlined in the ACT’s Easing of Restrictions roadmap will stay in place and be assessed on a weekly basis.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that at 4 pm yesterday (22 July 2020) there were 630 people known to ACT Health in quarantine, after a cluster of infections emerged out of the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club last week.

“We thank those people for doing the right thing and reducing the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading in the ACT. 14-day quarantine isn’t easy, and ACT Health and ACT Police are continuing to monitor and assess these people,” he said.

Mr Barr said the COVID-19 situation was rapidly evolving, so it was critical for all Canberrans to be mindful of where they are travelling, and who they are interacting with.

”The easiest way to avoid infection and reduce the risk of an outbreak in the ACT is to avoid any unnecessary travel outside of the Territory,” he said.

”We all know what the impact of going backwards will be on our economy, and with new cases being confirmed every day across NSW, we need to be more cautious.”

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said that while the ACT remained in a strong position, the situation in NSW still had the potential to impact the ACT.

“While there are currently some good signs coming out of NSW, it is still very early days,” Dr Coleman said.

“We need to continue to monitor the situation for a bit longer before we look to make any changes to ease restrictions in the ACT. This is to ensure we are in a good position to respond to cases here in the ACT should the need arise.”

“The next two weeks will also give us the opportunity to look at the learnings coming out of Victoria and NSW and review our Stage 3 restrictions to ensure these align with the latest health advice.”

Mr Barr said the government was continuing to work with various industry partners on how the Government can continue to help protect local jobs during this time, and flagged further economic stimulus initiatives in the weeks ahead.

Health authorities are continuing to ask all patrons and staff who were at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on Monday 13 July, Wednesday 15 July, Thursday 16 July and Friday 17 July, to immediately be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of symptoms.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

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