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SA reopening border after Victoria lockdown


South Australia has reopened its border to residents of regional Victoria overnight as the eastern state awakes to its first day free from lockdown restrictions.

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Victoria’s five-day lockdown officially ended at 11:59pm (AEDT) yesterday, with schools, offices, restaurants and shops able to reopen this morning, and people allowed to leave their home for any reason.

Masks, however, remain mandatory indoors and outdoors when physical distancing isn’t possible, while home gatherings are limited to five visitors, down from 15.

The state is set to remain at this new level of restrictions until February 26, as there are still 25 active cases in the state and 3500 close contacts isolating.

SA’s updated border direction means people from regional Victoria – provided they have not been in greater Melbourne in the past 14 days – can travel into SA restrictions free.

“I think that’s very important for our cross-border communities,” SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens told reporters yesterday.

However, SA will not open to residents of greater Melbourne until February 25, subject to Victoria recording no new cases of community transmission for 14 days.

Premier Steven Marshall said yesterday there is “still got a long way to go” until that threshold is reached, and authorities need to “make sure that we’re still getting good results out of Victoria”.

Queensland authorities are working on a similar schedule, with Chief Public Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young indicating that February 27 is the earliest possible day the state could reopen to Melbourne.

Elsewhere, NSW overnight dropped its five-day quarantine requirements for Melbourne travellers, while WA moved Victoria into its “low risk” category, meaning Victorians are allowed to enter the state subject to 14-days mandatory quarantine.

The border reopenings come as states across the country outline their timetables for administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Frontline workers in South Australia will get their first vaccinations as early as Monday, with the first load of vials to be delivered to the state this weekend.

In the first phase of the rollout, 1726 frontline healthcare workers in the state will be vaccinated, and more than 12,000 people will get the jab in the first three weeks.

This rollout will include SA’s medi-hotel and airport workers and those linked to residential disability and aged care, with the vaccines to be administered at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre.

NSW and Queensland also announced they will be conducting their first vaccinations on Monday.

-with AAP

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