Canberrans have been asked not to travel to greater Sydney and urged to reassess their travel in regional NSW.
While an official ban is not in place, ACT Health updated its travel advice for greater Sydney on Friday.
“ACT residents are strongly advised not to travel to greater Sydney at this time,” they said.
“Travel to greater Sydney should only be done for absolutely essential reasons.
“We do not issue this advice lightly, but it is a recognition of the fact that the risk to Canberrans of contracting COVID-19 in greater Sydney, and potentially bringing it back to the ACT with them, is currently higher than we would like.
“We are asking Canberrans to continue exercising the good judgement they have shown during the pandemic thus far and to respect this advice.”
ACT Health also asked Canberrans considering travel to regional NSW “to be aware of the COVID-19 situation in the area you are travelling in, and reassess your need to travel to areas with known cases”.
There have been 21 new cases of COVID-19 in NSW reported in the past 24 hours, and Queensland will close its borders to anyone from greater Sydney from Saturday, August 1.
“The reality of this virus is that we all must remain vigilant, and the situation in Victoria shows just how contagious and just how formidable this virus is,” ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.
“What’s happening across the border in NSW is, of course, the more direct concern to the ACT.
“As we have done throughout the pandemic, the ACT will continue to take a cautious approach.
“Our goal is to guard against the spreading of the virus, while keeping our economy open.”
CT Health also “strongly advised” Canberrans not to travel to Victoria – listed as a hotspot – and said travel there should only occur for “absolutely essential reasons”.
Victoria reported eight more deaths and 627 new coronavirus cases on Friday.
Any ACT resident returning from Victoria still needs to notify ACT Health and self-isolate for 14 days after leaving Victoria.
Self-isolation is also still required for people returning to Canberra from Victoria or from Fairfield, Campbelltown or Liverpool in NSW.
No change to COVID-19 restrictions
Mr Barr also advised that the ACT would remain at stage 2.2 of the coronavirus recovery plan.
“At the end of a week that has seen a relatively small, but daily increase in confirmed cases across NSW, we are not yet in a position to definitively signal a further easing of restrictions in the ACT from next Friday,” he said.
“Our local situation is positive. But we cannot overlook the broader environment.
“We cannot ignore the risk of a rapid spread of the virus in Canberra if we did start to see more cases in NSW.
“We’re going to continue to monitor the situation in NSW across the weekend, and early in the new week.
“It’s very, very unlikely that we will be moving to larger group gatherings in the near future, as had been previously envisioned in stage three.”
In the ACT, there is still only one known active case of COVID-19, with over 50,000 negative tests returned since the pandemic began.
Mr Barr said that “our best and most effective measures” in beating coronavirus are still physical distancing, proper hygiene and COVID-19 testing, “and we’ve got to keep on doing them”.