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SA to ease isolation rules from next week

South Australia COVID-19 lockdowns
South Australia will be easing its COVID-19 isolation rules from next week, the premier says. Photo: AAP
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South Australia will scale back quarantine requirements and no longer enforce statewide COVID-19 lockdowns from next week.

Premier Steven Marshall made the announcement on Monday in an update on how SA will live with the virus after its borders reopen on November 23.

“We will be very, very significantly reducing the test, trace, isolate and quarantine requirements,” he said.

“In the past, we’ve had to take a pretty heavy-handed approach, quite frankly, because a single case could set off a cluster which would lock down our state.

“As of next Tuesday, we will no longer have the threat of a whole-of-state lockdown.”

If someone gets COVID-19, they will still need to isolate for up to 14 days.

But under the changes, close or casual contacts of an infected person won’t have to do 14 days unless they are unvaccinated.

The worst scenario for a vaccinated close or casual contact would be a maximum of seven days’ quarantine.

This is because fully vaccinated casual contacts only need to isolate until they receive their first negative test result.

SA has also redefined who would be classified as a close or casual contact of an infected person.

A casual contact is now a person who had less than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with an infectious person where there was a “reasonable risk” of transmission.

Risk is based on their vaccination status, use of masks, whether they were indoors or outdoors and the nature of exposure, such as singing.

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine regime would continue to play a role in controlling outbreaks.

“Our contact tracing team are ‘match-ready’,” Professor Spurrier said in a statement.

“The team will continue to get in touch with all individuals who have come into contact with a case to inform them if they are a close or casual contact and what is expected of them.”

Mr Marshall said the government had made 392 extra beds and treatment spaces available and was recruiting up to 1920 doctors, nurses, ambulance officers and other health staff.

“You will always be able to get the care you need, when you need it,” he said.

As of 3pm on Sunday, 85.3 per cent of South Australians had had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 73.9 per cent were fully vaccinated.

The state is still expected to hit 80 per cent double-jab coverage by November 23.

Meanwhile, SA Police are searching for a woman who absconded from hotel quarantine in Adelaide after arriving from Darwin using a stolen driver’s licence.

The woman landed in the capital on Friday and was required to quarantine for a fortnight at a facility in the CBD.

But about 7.45 pm on Saturday, she escaped via a fire escape and caught a taxi from a nearby rank.

Police are not sure where the woman is originally from and are treating the matter as a health issue rather than a law enforcement issue.