People from NSW and Victoria who have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and have not been to an exposure site can celebrate Christmas in South Australia without going into quarantine, the state’s prime minister says.
Most important points:
- South Australia plans to reopen interstate borders once its own vaccination rate reaches 80 percent
- The Prime Minister says a number of restrictions are still in place at that time
- SA does not join NSW in allowing vaccinated international travelers to quarantine for just seven days
Steven Marshall has today provided some of the clearest clues as to how South Australia plans to open up to the eastern states once SA reaches the border. the 80 percent vaccination target, which is expected to happen in December.
The target received fundamental support from the National Cabinet in July, with a view to reopening borders and lifting lockdowns.
He said a reopening would be done in a way that ensures South Australia does not experience the high number of cases seen on the highway.
“There will be no miraculous freedom day where all internal restrictions are removed and all borders are completely removed. We have to be careful in South Australia – we have a lot to lose,” he said.
“There will still be restrictions in place – limits, density regulations will be in place – but we will also be testing, tracking, isolating and quarantining people who get the disease.
“We also want to set a number of conditions for testing when [interstate travellers] arrive.”
South Australia last week reached a full 50 percent vaccination coverage for people aged 16 or older.
No return ‘to 2019-type terms’
SA Police Commissioner and State Coordinator Grant Stevens said that regardless of the vaccination figures, opening the borders would not be just a matter of time.
“I think it’s better to say we’re going to increase the ability for people to move between states and territories after we hit 80 percent,” Stevens said.
Prime Minister said South Australia would not sign up for… an NSW proposal to allow double-vaccinated returning foreign travelers to undergo seven days of home quarantine.
“I think we’ll get to that point eventually, but we’ll start with 14 days of home quarantine,” said Mr Marshall.
“Let’s be clear about the situation in NSW: they already have a high level of community transmission there. We don’t have that situation in South Australia and we need to protect it.
“New infections are very likely to occur within the first seven days, [but] there’s still a small percentage coming out in the next seven days, which is why we’re holding it in place for the start of the home quarantine test, but I don’t think it will stay there forever.”
Modeling for rise in cases
SA Health is working to model potential case numbers and hospitalizations as more Delta COVID-19 cases occur in the state.
“I need to be sure that easing restrictions does not endanger South Australians from a public welfare standpoint,” Stevens said.
“SA Health is doing that work now to give me the formal advice that the system will cope with and under what circumstances those kinds of situations will arise.”