In a much anticipated announcement, South Australian officials have decided not to open up borders to residents in NSW.
However, residents of the ACT will be allowed to visit with no need to quarantine for 14-days upon arrival. These changes come into effect as of midnight tonight (Tuesday 15th Sept).
Travellers can only enter by air, flying through Adelaide, as travelling overland through NSW means the quarantine restrictions are back in place.
All travellers will need to fill in an online pre-approval form, and must not have been outside of the ‘safe community transmission zone’ for 14-days prior to their visit to SA.
The Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said of the decision:
“This is our way of assuring as best as possible that those people travelling between SA and other places have not exposed themselves unnecessarily to the risk of COVID-19 and bringing it into SA. It's not possible for us to be confident a person driving between the ACT and SA has not had contact with the NSW community. We're hopeful the situation in NSW continues to improve to the point where we can lift the quarantine.”
The Commissioner said that the decision to continue 14-day mandatory quarantine for travellers from NSW will remain in place for now, until SA health experts are satisfied that the community transmission in NSW is no longer a significant risk.
Health officials will require a two-week period with no recorded community transmission before opening to the rest of the state. The soonest this could occur based on the current levels will be in 10 days.
Visitors from NSW cannot travel freely into SA until transmissions are down for a fortnight.
SA Premier Steven Marshall said, however, that it’s ‘not possible to put a time frame on it, but the indicators are that NSW is heading in the right directions and doing a very good job of contact tracing’.
He also said he is keen to open borders as soon as it is safe to do so; ‘we want to give as much of a leg up to people wanting to travel for business or family reunion as quick as possible so we won’t be delaying it’.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been very vocal in calling on state premiers to reopen borders, saying it is time Australia was open for business. He said that as long as the nation remains closed, we ‘cannot claim success’ even with low case numbers.
Fingers crossed NSW is on the right track, and borders keep reopening across our beautiful country in time for Christmas.