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Dancing under spotlight as authorities rethink ban

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People travelling into South Australia may need to receive a fourth coronavirus test on day 16 of their stay, while dancing at nightclubs will remain off the table for at least another week as authorities reconsider the blanket ban.

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Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens told reporters after this morning’s transition committee meeting that no changes had been made to South Australia’s current level of restrictions, but authorities would reconvene next week to discuss easing a ban on dancing and drinking at pubs and clubs.

He said authorities today discussed making it easier for nightclubs to apply for COVID-Safe management plans to allow them to operate with stand-up drinking and dancing, but there was no set date on when the ban would be eased.

“It is a constant topic of conversation because we understand the community desire for this particular type of activity to occur and the business owners who are heavily involved in this – they’re looking for some relief as well,” he said.

“We’re looking for ways to provide that as safely as possible.

“South Australia is one of those jurisdictions that has the greatest level of freedom within our community and that comes at a price in terms of how we manage certain high-risk activities.”

Stevens said authorities also discussed ramping up testing requirements for interstate and overseas travellers.

It comes after a returned overseas traveller in New South Wales tested positive for coronavirus two days after finishing his 14-day stay in hotel quarantine.

Stevens said the circumstances of the case were not yet fully known, but authorities did discuss introducing a compulsory day 16 test two days after arrivals leave quarantine.

He said doing so would make SA one of the first states in Australia to enforce a mandatory four-test regime on returning travellers.

“I think in many respects we’ve led the way with the measures we’ve put in place to protect the community,” he said.

“I’m not saying that it (day 16 testing) is going to happen at this point, but it’s certainly on the table for discussion.

“We don’t want to put more impositions on people if there’s not a scientific basis for doing so.”

Meanwhile, Victoria this week reported a second positive coronavirus case in a hotel quarantine worker.

Stevens said authorities discussed the case at this morning’s meeting, but no changes would be made to travel directions.

He said Victoria’s contact tracing and testing regimes were of “a very high standard” and authorities were confident that Victorians were “well on top of this at this point in time”.

“All close contacts have been identified, so we are not making any changes at this time, but we will still continue to monitor what’s happening in Victoria,” he said.

Authorities are set to remove all testing requirements for people travelling from Greater Sydney on Saturday.

South Australia recorded no new COVID-19 cases today, but two active cases remain.

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