- SA to open border to Victorians
- No new cases
- International flights banned until December 7
- Airborne transmission considered for medi-hotel spread
Premier Steven Marshall told reporters after this morning’s transition committee meeting that authorities wanted to “bring a sense of normality by Christmas this year”, with today’s announcement the first step towards returning the state back to where it was before the Parafield cluster.
From midnight Monday, the State Government will lift all border restrictions in place with Victoria, meaning Victorians will be allowed to travel to South Australia without needing to quarantine or get tested.
However, the Victorian Government is yet to relax its restrictions on South Australian travellers, meaning anyone travelling back into Victoria may still need to get a permit.
The SA Government will from next Tuesday impose a new set of restrictions, to be in place for two weeks.
The changes will coincide with the rollout of mandatory QR scanning technology across all licensed venues, including restaurants, cafés, bars and clubs.
It comes as South Australia reported no new coronavirus infections overnight, with the number of active cases also dropping from 36 to 23.
“I know that this is really a combined effort to do every single plausible thing we can to get back to a sense of normality by Christmas this year,” Marshall said.
“These [changes] chart our course back to where we want to be by Christmas.”
Meanwhile, Marshall has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking him to suspend all international flights into South Australia until Monday December 7.
From Tuesday, patron caps on all general trade will be removed, although licensed premises will have to take up the Government’s new QR code system to be eligible for the new arrangements.
Businesses with a COVID-safe plan will need to download their QR code from SA Health, print it off and display it at their venue, for patrons to scan as they enter.
Customers will need to download the MySA GOV app – or update it if they already have it – to scan the QR codes.
“It will be very simple. People who have a COVID-safe plan now will be required to update their COVID-safe plan, but that will be emailed to them, and it will include a QR code,” Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said.
“We are requiring businesses to produce that QR code on their premises so people coming into the premises can actually participate.
“We’re expecting a significant take-up very quickly.”
Marshall said the system would only be used for SA Health contact tracing purposes and the information would only be kept for 28 days.
Meanwhile, the funeral guest limit will increase to 150 people, while weddings and private functions will stay at 150 people – although dancing and stand-up drinking will be allowed.
Venues will be allowed to serve alcohol to people standing-up, although only outside and with a one person per two square metre capacity.
Indoors, people must remain seated and stick to one person per four square metres.
Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said there was “much more of a risk” of droplets spreading indoors than outdoors, particularly if ventilation is poor.
But Business SA CEO Martin Haese said keeping the one person per four square-metre rule indoors would have a “significant impact on many hospitality, retail, events and leisure businesses at what is their busiest time of year”.
“We welcome the easing of restrictions to one person per two square-metre rules for outdoor venues and the removal of the 100-person cap on venues, but this will likely only benefit larger businesses,” he said.
Community sport will also get the go-ahead from Tuesday.
Masks are still required in situations where physical distancing is not possible, such as at personal care and residential aged care facilities.
People are encouraged to wear masks where they cannot keep a 1.5-metre distance from others, such as at supermarkets.
Only 10 people are allowed at home gatherings.
SA to open border to Victorians
Stevens said the state was bracing for a surge in travellers, once South Australia lifts its border restrictions with Victoria from midnight Monday.
He said Victorians would still be required to seek prior approval before travelling to South Australia.
“That’ll give us a clear indication as to the volume of people coming in,” he said.
“We’ll be assessing whether or not we retain that online application process going forward.”
Asked if Victoria would reciprocate, Marshall said South Australia’s success containing Parafield cluster “should give other jurisdictions around the country great confidence in our public health administration”.
“That should lead to a lifting of those restrictions earlier,” he said.
South Australians currently require a permit to enter Victoria based on the locations they have visited or travelled through 14 days prior. These locations are categorised as green, orange and red zones:
- Travellers who visited green zone places – all areas outside of metropolitan Adelaide – are eligible to receive a permit.
- Travellers who visited orange zone places – all areas of metropolitan Adelaide, not including areas designated as a red zone – are eligible to receive a permit and are strongly advised to get tested upon arrival.
- Travellers who visited red zone places – all areas subject to a SA Health COVID-19 alert requiring immediate self-isolation and testing – are not eligible to receive a permit.
No new cases
Spurrier today reported “very good news” of no new coronavirus cases overnight, with the number of cases linked to the Parafield cluster remaining at 31.
One case linked to the cluster – a woman aged in her 50s – remains in a stable condition in hospital.
Approximately 5000 people connected to the cluster are now in quarantine, including close contacts of positive cases or contacts of those close contacts.
Spurrier said the number of active coronavirus cases in South Australia dropped overnight from 36 to 23.
“We do know that in this particular cluster, many people have had fairly low amount of symptoms and some people have had no symptoms whatsoever, so we take it from 10 days for the onset of symptoms to be free of symptoms… and then we say that person has recovered,” she said.
Yesterday, 12,322 South Australians got tested for COVID-19.
It comes as SA Health added two new locations to its alert list following contact tracing interviews with the Woodville High School student who tested positive on Wednesday night.
They include Port Adelaide Plaza on Friday November 13 between 6.40pm and 9.30pm, and Sunday November 15 between 3.00pm and 3.30pm, as well as Armada Arndale Shopping Centre on Sunday November 15 between 11.30am and 12.30pm, and Sunday November 22 between 11.00am and 11.30am.
People who visited those locations during the listed times do not need to quarantine but should monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if symptoms appear.
International flights banned until December 7
Marshall said he has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to ban all international arrivals to Adelaide until December 7 – beyond the existing November 30 suspension deadline.
He said the decision would be “heartbreaking” for South Australians who had relatives stuck overseas, “but our primary responsibility is to look after the health and welfare of all South Australians”.
“I reiterate that we are 100 per cent committed to the national repatriation program and getting Australian citizens back home safely and will continue to work with the Commonwealth on a staged resumption of that mission,” he said.
“We were hopeful that this could occur from the first of December, but the advice we’ve received from SA Health is to push that out and to resume on the seventh of December.”
The announcement comes after conflicting timelines emerged earlier in the week between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Premier about when international flights would resume flying into Adelaide.
Morrison yesterday announced South Australia would resume accepting international flights on Monday, despite Marshall’s assurance this week that he would wait for health advice before agreeing to open the state’s borders.
Marshall did not say whether Morrison had agreed to ban flights into SA until December 7.
“We’ve received this health advice and we’re acting on it promptly,” he said, when asked what the Prime Minister’s reaction was.
Airborne transmission considered for medi-hotel spread
Spurrier said health authorities were now considering whether aerosol or airborne coronavirus spread was responsible for infecting a security guard working at Peppers medi-hotel, prompting the Parafield cluster.
She said following a review of the hotel’s CCTV footage, authorities found the security guard remained in the hotel’s corridors and did not enter any rooms where people were quarantining.
“We know that a security guard’s been infected just by simply sitting in a hallway where there was likely to be droplets or possibly aerosol concentrating,” she said.
“We know that COVID is mostly droplet spread, but you can also have smaller droplets become aerosol and that combination can become concentrated if the ventilation is poor.
“I’m not so worried about the air-conditioning, it’s more about the ventilation and the movement and refreshing of air in the corridors and we’re looking at alternative ways of security and having CCTV footage just to try to minimise the amount of exposure that our security and other staff have in those particular areas.”
Spurrier said health authorities “probably hadn’t appreciated” the potential for droplets to come from a room and then concentrate outside the room.
“This is something that we’re really turning our minds to and it’s important because if we’re planning alternatives we’ve got to make sure that the ventilation is obviously going to be as good as it can be.”
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