ACT Joins Other Australian States in Shutdown of Non-Essential Services

March 22, 2020COVID-19
ACT Joins Other Australian States in Shutdown of Non-Essential Services
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Andrew Barr, speak with the media after the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Adelaide, on Dec. 12, 2018. (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)

The ACT will follow NSW and Victoria in shutting down non-essential services over the next 48 hours in a dramatic bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

ACT Chief Minister andrew other states will do the same after leaders meet with the prime minister on Sunday evening.

“We must also face the reality that, as a territory within NSW, it would be impossible for the ACT to have different arrangements than those in our surrounding region,” he said in a statement.

“Despite measures in place to discourage social interaction, there are still too many instances where people are exposing themselves to contracting the virus which is leading to an unsustainable increase in confirmed cases across the country.”

Essential services including supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, pharmacies, post offices, convenience stores and freight and logistics services will remain open.

A detailed list of what is considered essential will be defined over the next 48 hours with the government working in conjunction with shop owners on their requirements.

Barr said the ACT would continue to follow the guidance of national cabinet about schools—which has so far said they should stay open – but that the territory would move to distance education for most students on Tuesday.

Face-to-face education would be provided to students who needed it.

The number of cases of the virus in Canberra more than doubled overnight to 19, with 10 new cases recorded.

Two of the 19 people with the disease are in hospital and the rest are in quarantine at home, supported by health workers.

Barr said there would be stronger enforcement of self-isolation measures to make sure people were doing the right thing and not spreading the virus.

There had been 2395 negative tests for the disease conducted in the territory by noon on Sunday.

By Katina Curtis, AAP Senior Political Writer

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