SA to lift COVID-19 border rules with NSW

NSW arrivals in SA from Wednesday will no longer have to isolate for 14 days, the premier says.
NSW arrivals in SA from Wednesday will no longer have to isolate for 14 days, the premier says.

South Australia will lift its COVID-19 border restrictions with NSW from midnight on Wednesday, dropping the two-week quarantine requirement.

The long-awaited decision was made in Tuesday's meeting of the state's transition committee and came after initial plans to lift the isolation measures were stalled for weeks because of a cluster of coronavirus cases in Sydney.

"This is going to be a relief that will be felt across our state, from an economic perspective and from a family perspective," Premier Steven Marshall said.

"We know that this has been a massive burden on the business community and also on families and individuals.

"But we did this to keep South Australia safe. Our borders have been the front line in our defence."

The premier said health officials had examined the concerning case of an infected Sydney taxi driver but were satisfied it was a risk that could be managed.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the decision to ease the border measures came after 14 days of no community transmission in NSW involving cases with an unknown origin.

"I know people will be concerned about the taxi driver. But I'm very confident that person is not representative of community transmission," she said.

"He did spend some time in the community while infectious. But many people have been asked to quarantine because of those exposures."

NSW Health is trying to contact anyone who took trips with the Silver Service taxi driver, who tested positive on Saturday and worked in Sydney's west and southwest.

The critical dates are September 8 to 18.

While a large number of people who rode with that driver have already been identified, the names of nine passengers are still unknown. It's likely they hailed the cab on the street.

Professor Spurrier urged anyone travelling between SA and NSW to keep a close eye on the latest information in relation to coronavirus cases in Sydney and called for all travellers on planes to wear masks.

"But we can't just wrap ourselves in cotton wool forever," she said.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the change with NSW reflected a level of optimism in the local community and he was also confident the taxi driver did not pose a greater risk to South Australians.

"But having said that, none of these decisions are without risk," he said.

The change with NSW leaves SA with only its hard border restrictions in place with Victoria.

Prof Spurrier said health officials would continue to watch the situation in Melbourne carefully and would take the same approach to Victoria as applied to NSW.

There is some potential to soon allow regional Victorians or returning South Australians to be allowed into SA provided they quarantine for 14 days.

SA reported no new coronavirus cases on Tuesday and has no active infections.

Australian Associated Press