6 January 2021

Police begin RBT-style quarantine checks for COVID-compliance

| Dominic Giannini
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Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan

Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan said police will be conducting random COVID-19 compliance checks. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

ACT Policing will be targeting vehicles with NSW licence plates around national institutions in Parkes and Barton as officers conduct RBT-style operations for COVID-19 compliance.

People who have been in the Greater Sydney region, including the Central Coast and Wollongong, have been banned from entering the ACT and despite some border checkpoints, police acknowledge it would not be possible to staff the nearly 70 entry points into the Territory.

Instead, Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan said police will be directing resources to check vehicles with interstate plates.

“We will do things quite differently within the ACT’s borders, particularly along our major roads [like] Adelaide Avenue, Northbourne Avenue, Canberra Avenue etc where we will do RBT-type quarantine checks to ensure people are adhering to the health direction,” CPO Gaughan said yesterday (5 January).

Around 14 per cent of cars checked entering the Territory on Saturday (2 January) required some intervention, with occupants either being turned back or directed to quarantine, but this fell to just 2 per cent on Monday.

“The messaging is obviously getting out to people in Greater Sydney and I thank people for listening,” he said.

CPO Gaughan also confirmed checks are occurring on public transport.

“We are working very closely with Murray’s who have given us a copy of their manifest, and indeed the other bus companies as well,” he said.

“My understanding is that as of yesterday, NSW trains are terminating at Queanbeyan. We know who is on the train, we are getting that manifest, we have visibility and my understanding is the number of people coming to Canberra via train and bus has diminished quite significantly.”

The health direction blocking entry into the ACT from NSW hotspots will continue until at least next Wednesday (13 January), with a final checkpoint being conducted by the Chief Health Officer on Tuesday to determine if restrictions will be extended.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the checkpoints and restrictions would not be in place a day longer than necessary.

READ MORE What the ACT’s new COVID-19 restrictions mean for you

“This is not something that we would anticipate still being the case where police are at the border every single day for the entire month of January and February and beyond,” he said.

“There will be some inconvenience, we understand that and we acknowledge it, but my message is that the public health directions are in place for a reason and we will be out checking so do not take the risk of an $8,000 fine.

“Do not put your health, the health of the people you are visiting or the places you are staying, and this broader community at risk.”

Just over 11,160 vehicles had been checked at the borders as of this morning, with 172 turned around and 337 directed into home quarantine.

Of the 16 cars that were turned around on Tuesday, most were coming to Canberra for a day trip to visit national institutions, Mr Gaughan said.

ACT Policing is recording the number plates of cars that have been turned around.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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