CANBERRA, AAP – Barnaby Joyce has been denied entry to Canberra after his regional city went into lockdown.

The deputy prime minister went home to Armidale on Thursday evening, reportedly by government jet, and has been caught up in the growing NSW outbreak that put the regional centre in lockdown on Saturday.

ACT health authorities declared more local government areas, including Mr Joyce’s, as COVID-19 affected on Thursday afternoon, in an effort to keep out the virulent Delta variant.

Now Mr Joyce can’t attend parliament in person, which is sitting for four days this week, and hasn’t begun the quarantine period that would be needed for subsequent weeks.

ACT Health told AAP it does not comment publicly on an individual’s application or outcome as that would be a breach of their personal privacy.

However, it confirmed Armidale Regional Council was one of the 14 areas in regional NSW where travellers need to gain an approved exemption in order to enter the ACT.

Travellers are also subject to quarantine requirements.

“ACT Health advises all travellers including parliamentarians to comply with the public health directions in the area they are coming from,” a spokeswoman said.

“If permitted to travel, they need to abide by the ACT travel requirements.”

Mr Joyce’s National Press Club speech in Canberra on Wednesday, his first since returning to the Nationals leadership, has been postponed because of the escalating COVID-19 situation in Tamworth and Armidale.

He did not want to deliver the speech virtually to the sold-out event.

The Nationals leader did not appear via video link at Question Time on Monday.