SA finds possible student quarantine hub

·2-min read

SA Health has identified a suitable COVID-19 quarantine site for international students but the state government is still working through issues with the Commonwealth to allow their return.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said a team within the department had been looking for a suitable site after the successful isolation of seasonal workers from overseas in the state's Riverland region.

"We do have somewhere that we feel is suitable. It's somewhere that will be safe and suitable for students," she told ABC radio on Wednesday.

"We've looked at the ventilation and such like. My team are putting together a report that will come to me."

SA has been working on the return of international students for some time but efforts have largely been hijacked by COVID-19 outbreaks either locally or interstate and other logistical issues.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said it remained something the government was exploring with other agencies as well as federal authorities.

"Universities have a strong interest in trying to have a pathway for international students to return," he said.

"To be frank, the Commonwealth is being quite rigorous in what it's expecting of states to support such a program.

"So we continue to work through those issues."

Mr Wade said any return of students would also need to "synchronise" with the academic year.

Meanwhile, SA Health reported two new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, both in returned travellers who are in hotel quarantine.

The state currently has 20 active cases, all in isolation, including three patients in the Royal Adelaide.

Professor Spurrier said one of those, a man in his 40s, had been moved to the general COVID-19 ward after spending several weeks on a ventilator in intensive care.

"He's improved a lot and has now been moved out of ICU and into the standard COVID ward. So that's excellent news," she said.

She said the man's case reinforced the fact that the pandemic was not over and that the virus remained a very serious illness for some people.