South Australia could open its borders with Victoria in a matter of weeks as Premier Steven Marshall announced a slew of changes to COVID restrictions.
Following the state’s Transition Committee meeting on Tuesday, Mr Marshall confirmed restrictions would ease first with those living in Victorian border communities, who had been “doing it tough for some time”.
Residents in border communities will no longer need to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis in order for them to enter South Australia as of midnight tonight.
Border restrictions between the two states are set to ease within just two weeks, assuming nothing goes awry in the state now that its lockdown has partially lifted.
“We will be keeping the 70km buffer zone on either side in place but as most people have been aware, Victoria has done very well recently, and we’re constantly looking to see if we can increase (the zone) into the future,” Mr Marshall said.
“Victoria has been doing extraordinarily well recently … We’re still waiting to see what the full implications of the increased mobility will be but we’re giving an advanced notice that within two weeks we'll be able to go into a situation that will allow home based isolation in SA.”
Premier Steven Marshall had maintained he does not want restrictions in place “for one day longer than they need to be”. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Naomi JellicoeSource:News Corp Australia
Currently, SA has a hard border arrangement where Victorians need to apply for exemptions and be approved in order isolate here.
This includes people permanently moving to the state or students that have finished school or university in Victoria and wish to come home.
Mr Marshall also announced drinking while standing indoors at pubs, clubs and restaurants will be allowed in two weeks time.
He said authorities were working with the industry and technology providers and felt a level of comfort to ease the “vertical consumption” restriction.
“We think in around two weeks time we should be able to move to a situation where we can allow vertical consumption in our pubs, clubs and restaurants here in the foreseeable future.
“This will allow us to put some of the critical technology in place, like QR codes and scanners, to ensure we can contract trace. This has always been the concern.”
The Transition Committee met — which includes Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier and Police Commissioner Grant Stevens — met on Tuesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Naomi JellicoeSource:News Corp Australia
SA Health’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier urged all South Australians to continue getting tested, despite restrictions easing.
“Testing is the only way my team and I will know if we have COVID-19 in the state,” she said. “While we ease restrictions, it all rests on the fact that every single SA resident that has symptoms gets tested.”.
“Testing on the day you get any symptoms is important. I know it's inconvenient to get the tests done but it's the only way in SA we can keep on top of this.”
VIC/SA border checkpoint at Yamba. Picture NewsWire / Darren Seiler.Source:Supplied
She said authorities were looking to move back to a softer border arrangement in future where all Victorian residents could enter the state and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
“Victoria had so many difficulties. We’re keen to see (what happens) once the restrictions have lifted to a reasonable amount … because it is possible and plausible that once they lift we could start seeing more cases.
“For the safety of SA we all need to be a bit more patient. Christmas is coming and we all want to be in a safe place at the same time.”
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