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SA-Victoria border still under guard as Melbourne cases grow

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South Australia has left border restrictions with Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT in place, as SA police fined two Victorians who illegally crossed into the state.

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Speaking late this morning after a meeting of the state’s Transition Committee, Premier Stephen Marshall there was no change to SA’s border regime which required interstate arrrivals to self-quarantine.

Previous plans to lift border restrictions for Victoria, SA and the ACT on July 20 were scrapped after Victorian cases began to spike, with hundreds more cases confirmed in the past few days.

SA has already lifted restrictions for travellers from Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

“We will continue to monitor the situation, but we do need time to get this right,” Marshall said.

He said that while NSW and the ACT recorded no new cases today, Victoria’s most recent cases were all locally acquired, with only one case contracted overseas, “and this is really what is causing some concerns with public health officials around the country”.

It came after police said today that two men had twice been caught crossing into South Australia from Victoria in breach of the border restrictions.

The pair, who were travelling in a Volkswagen van, first crossed into SA at 4am on Thursday and were stopped at a checkpoint on the Dukes Highway at Bordertown.

Since they hadn’t completed an online application to enter the state and were deemed to be non-essential travellers, the men were told they would need to self-isolate for 14 days if they stayed.

The men opted to return to Victoria, but 12 hours later police found the van and the men bogged on a dirt road near Pinehill Road at Senior, about 28 kilometres north.

“Police will allege the pair had briefly returned to Victoria before re-entering South Australia, bypassing the border checkpoint and travelling along back roads towards Bordertown,” SA Police said in a statement on Friday.

The two men were each issued with a $1060 on-the-spot fine and again given the option to self-isolate for 14 days or return to Victoria.

Also today, it was revealed that a security guard monitoring returned travellers quarantined in an Adelaide hotel has been taken off the job for breaching safety protocols.

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the guard wasn’t wearing a mask and was dismissed by police.

“It didn’t put anybody at risk, but it was just a warning: ‘OK, you’ve been told you have to wear a mask. You’re not wearing it. You’re out of here’,” she told ABC radio on Friday.

“The police have a very, very strong presence and they are overseeing the security guards and that was how it was picked up.”

The guard has been required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Marshall said that while Victoria’s hotel quarantine regime had come under fire over the handling of returned overseas, SA rules for repatriated citizens housed in a CBD hotel were very strict.

He said SA Police supervised the security system to ensure the 14 day quarantine period was observed: “They do an excellent job, it’s a robust system, it’s a system that has worked extraordinarily well,” he said.

Marshall also commented on interstate reports of people refusing to be tested for Covid-19.

“I can confirm to the people of South Australia that we have 100 per cent compliance with the testing regime that we have in place – it is not an optional arrangement in South Australia,” he said.

Further, people under SA quarantine were not permitted to leave quarantine for any reason, after interstate reports of people being allowed to go outside for exercise and being found in food outlets.

“This cannot occur in South Australia,” he said.

“In our scenario here in Adelaide, people in those quarantine arrangements are not allowed to leave their room for the 14 days of self-isolation.”

All people under quarantine were tested on day one, and again on day 12, with results back before a decision made on whether to allow the person to leave after 14 days.

Marshall also said the Government was not expecting any more overseas flights this week.

“We expect that there will be further flights coming back through Adelaide in the next seven to ten days, but nothing planned imminently,” he said.

-with AAP

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