SA looks to ease Vic virus measures soon

Tim Dornin
·2-min read

South Australia will relax its border restrictions with Victoria in about two weeks, with a move to allow people to quarantine at home.

Premier Steven Marshall says the change will depend on COVID-19 numbers in Victoria remaining low and the impact of increased mobility within that state.

No date has yet been set.

"We know this is great news for families especially in the lead-up to Christmas," the premier said on Tuesday.

"Victoria is doing well and that's giving us confidence that we can ease those restrictions."

When SA moves, the hard border closure with Victoria will go, with people allowed to quarantine for 14 days in a home environment instead of one of Adelaide's medi-hotels.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said she was optimistic Victoria would not have a spike in cases after lifting its lockdown measures, but SA would take a cautious approach.

"For the sake of a couple more weeks and for the safety of South Australians, we all need to be a little bit more patient," she said.

"Christmas is coming and the festive season, and we all want to be in a good place across Australia."

Other changes coming into force in two weeks include allowing people to stand up and drink in pubs, restaurants and cafes.

The new arrangements will require venues to introduce technology including QR codes and scanners to ensure a high level of contact tracing remains in place.

"South Australians will be absolutely delighted that they'll be about to go to a pub in a couple of weeks and have a beer, at the bar, with their mates," Mr Marshall said.

"There's some happy times ahead in that regard."

A meeting of SA's transition committee on Tuesday decided to ease restrictions on people living close to the Victorian border from midnight with the requirement for a weekly coronavirus test to be scrapped.

However, the 70km buffer zone for cross border travel will remain in place.

The SA government also maintained its position that the large schoolies celebration cannot go ahead this month.

Instead, students are being encouraged to have home-based events, limited to 50 people, or organise an event in a licensed venue, limited to 150 people.

They are asked to register their events to ensure police and other support groups can respond quickly to any issues.

SA reported two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the state's total since the start of the pandemic at 503.

The latest infections are those in a woman in her 30s and a man in his 50s who recently returned to Australia from overseas.

Both are in hotel quarantine and pose no risk to the wider community, SA Health says.

There are currently 13 active infections, all returned travellers in isolation.