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Victorians won't be allowed in SA "any time soon" after cases spike: Marshall


South Australia’s border with Victoria will be sealed for “an extended period of time”, Premier Steven Marshall says, after the eastern state today recorded a new peak of 428 coronavirus infections and three deaths in 24 hours.

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A man and a woman in their 80s and a man in his 70s were the latest victims, bringing total COVID-19 deaths in Victoria to 32.

There are now 5165 cases across the state, with 122 people in hospital. Of those, 31 are in intensive care. 

SA Premier Steven Marshall said after Friday’s transition committee meeting that a “hard” border closure with Victoria would not lift “any time soon”, with the State Government also not ruling out bringing back some restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 from the virus-ravaged eastern state.

Under current restrictions, only South Australian residents are allowed to cross the border from Victoria.

“This hard border remains in place and quite frankly I think it’s going to remain in place for an extended period of time,” Marshall said.  

“I think the entire nation now is on high alert with what is happening in Victoria. 

“We’ve worked far too hard in South Australia to go backwards by lifting our border restrictions too early.”

SA borders will also remain closed to travellers from New South Wales and the ACT, after a cluster linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s north today grew to 42 people – the majority of which were not hotel patrons.

SA had planned to lift its border with NSW and the ACT on Monday, but the transition committee this week decided to hold off easing restrictions until the “super spreader” cluster in Sydney was under control.

“We know that New South Wales today have reported just eight new infections, but we would really like to make sure that we get it right and we will not be lifting the border until SA Health and in particular (chief public health officer) Professor Nicola Spurrier is absolutely sure that it is the right time to do it,” Marshall said.

“We would really like to see more data that would support the fact that they’ve completely and utterly got on top of that situation.”

Marshall said the State Government “reserved the right” to increase a $1000 penalty to anyone who failed to undertake a mandatory COVID-19 test within 24 hours upon arriving in South Australia from Victoria and again on day 12 of quarantine.  

The measure will come into effect from midnight tomorrow.

He said the Government had also not ruled out putting some restrictions back in place “if that’s the advice that we receive”.

It follows a New South Wales Government decision to extend restrictions on pubs and hotels to all indoor hospitality venues.

Funerals and religious gatherings in NSW will from next Friday also have a limit of 100 people, while weddings and corporate events will be capped at 150 people.

“We’re going to do every single thing we can to make sure that the coronavirus doesn’t come into South Australia,” Marshall said.  

“We don’t want to go back into lockdown in South Australia, (but) we cannot be complacent with this illness.

“If there are requirements for us to put restrictions back in place on an incremental basis like they’re doing in New South Wales that’s precisely what we’ll do.

“We cannot be too careful when it comes to this disease.”

Marshall said he had not been informed of any new COVID-19 cases in South Australia today.

SA Health yesterday reported one new case of coronavirus with a woman who recently returned from Afghanistan testing positive.

Health officials said the woman, aged in her 40s, was no longer infectious and was not considered a risk to the wider community.

She arrived in Adelaide on Sunday after spending two weeks in quarantine in Melbourne where she returned two negative tests to COVID-19.

But when she was tested after flying into SA, the result was a low positive, an indication she was in the recovery phase of the disease.

An antibody test showed the infection had probably occurred some weeks earlier.

Her case took SA’s total since the start of the pandemic to 444.

– with AAP

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