The South Australian government has moved to end confusion around testing requirements and entry rules for the thousands of people who are expected to travel into the state from next Tuesday, with vaccinated arrivals from all Victorian and most NSW local government areas given the all-clear to enter without quarantining.
Just four days out from reopening the state’s borders, Premier Steven Marshall confirmed on Friday that the government had addressed a data anomaly issue that previously would have prevented travellers from local government areas – including the cities of Sydney and Melbourne – from entering South Australia without having to quarantine.
Revised vaccination data to be used by SA Health shows all Victorian and NSW LGAs have double-dose vaccination rates above 80 per cent, except Byron Bay, which is in the high-70s.
The data means fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from Victoria and NSW will be allowed to enter South Australia from next Tuesday without having to quarantine.
But those who are coming from Byron Bay will still have to quarantine until that LGA reaches the 80 per cent double-dose vaccination threshold.
“We know that this [data anomaly issue] has caused enormous frustration for people who haven’t been sure whether they can come in from next Tuesday or not,” Mr Marshall said.
“The good news is that’s all been clarified now and as of next Tuesday we are good to go, those borders will come up and people will be able to come into South Australia.”
But there will be testing requirements, with Mr Marshall announcing that anyone travelling from Victoria, NSW and the ACT will be required to provide evidence of having had a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arriving in South Australia.
Those travelling from other jurisdictions with double-dose vaccination rates between 80 and 90 per cent will also be required to get tested once they arrive in South Australia.
Vaccinated returning South Australian residents leaving the state for 72 hours or less will not be required to get tested.
Mr Marshall said travellers wouldn’t need to isolate until they got their test result.
“We are the first jurisdiction in the entire country that is COVID-free that is lifting our borders,” he said.
“There is some risk associated with this and that’s why we’re putting these speed humps in the way of the disease taking hold in South Australia.”
From next Tuesday, unvaccinated travellers will be required to seek an exemption from SA Health to come into South Australia.
They will also be required to quarantine either at home if SA Health deems their residence to be appropriate or otherwise in a medi-hotel.
Fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from overseas will be required to quarantine only for seven days instead of 14 and will also be given the option to isolate at home if SA Health grants them approval.
To cope with the expected surge in testing demand, an additional 100 SA Pathology staff will be recruited and Adelaide’s Victoria Park and Ridgehaven testing sites will open 24/7 from Tuesday.
The state government is also getting rid of the SA Police cross border travel registration form and will replace it with a new online portal called “EntryCheck SA”. It will be online on the sa.gov.au site from 5pm (local time) Friday.
Everyone planning to travel into South Australia from Tuesday is required to apply for approval via the system, which will use travellers’ information tell them “almost instantaneously” whether they are allowed into the state and, if so, whether they need to get tested or quarantine.
It may also tell vaccinated people arriving from interstate areas with community transmission or from overseas to use a new HealthCheck SA app as part of their entry conditions.
Those people will be sent a link to download the HealthCheck SA app, which will help them monitor daily symptoms and guide them through testing or quarantine requirements.
The HealthCheck SA app uses geolocation and live face-recognition technology to ensure that people who are entering South Australia from high-risk areas are complying with quarantine and testing requirements.
Deputy chief public health officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick said she expected thousands of people to submit information the EntryCheck SA system when it came online.
“We are definitely expecting a surge in travellers coming across,” she said.
“I think we absolutely know that people will be excited to travel back into South Australia and, of course, people leaving South Australia to travel interstate and come back in.”
Meanwhile, from next Tuesday, people will have the option to add their digital COVID vaccination certificate to the mySA Gov app so that they can quickly prove their vaccination status when entering businesses and venues.
- This story appeared first in InDaily and is republished here with permission