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SA locks out Greater Brisbane over COVID cases

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Travellers from the Greater Brisbane area will be locked out of South Australia from 4pm today, under a snap new border restriction in response to growing COVID concerns in the lead-up to the Easter break.

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Premier Steven Marshall told reporters a short time ago that from late afternoon today, only South Australian residents, essential workers and people moving here will be allowed across the border.

“We are extraordinarily concerned about the developing situation in Queensland,” he said.

“This morning I received a message from the Premier of Queensland… suggesting that SA move into a hotspot arrangement with Greater Brisbane. That’s precisely what we will do.

“Only South Australian residents, essential workers and people permanently relocating for work will be permitted into South Australia.”

Marshall said they would be required to do 14 days of quarantine, isolate themselves and get tested on day one, day five and day 13.

“We’re not happy to do this – in fact we know this is going to be a huge inconvenience to people especially in the lead-up to this Easter period,” he said.

“But it’s quite clear to us now that there are cases in the Greater Brisbane area that have come into contact with the community there.

“The advice we have received from QLD is this is the right declaration to make.”

Marshall said he was making the announcement as soon as possible, aware that a flight was due to land in Adelaide from Brisbane at 4.45pm this afternoon.

Marshall also said anyone who has come into SA from the Greater Brisbane area including Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan since March 20 needs to get tested and go into isolation until their test results comes back negative.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced this morning that Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands would go into a three-day lockdown from 5pm today, after four more COVID-19 cases emerged in the community.

The sudden border closure has now raised questions about the Adelaide vs Gold Coast AFL match scheduled at Adelaide Oval for Good Friday.

Earlier in the day, the Crows said they were preparing “as per normal” for their game against the Suns.

The Suns – currently on the Gold Coast after facing North Melbourne at Metricon Stadium on Saturday – are not in the area affected by the lockdown, and have not been told by the AFL to fly to Adelaide early to avoid potential border restrictions.

“Right now we are not putting them on a plane. That doesn’t mean it won’t change over the next 24 hours,” AFL fixturing boss Travis Auld told reporters today.

Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier this afternoon said football players were unlikely to be granted exemptions for travel because “generally we haven’t considered that football players are essential workers”.

Spurrier said she had only just been made aware of the Gold Coast match, but was assuming some Suns players had been in Brisbane during the concerning time-frame.

“My assumption is that there may be players that have been in Brisbane, and then a part of that Gold Coast team,” Spurrier said.

“When people play football, there’s a lot of close physical contact – sometimes we’re able to make a risk mitigation plan, but we’ll just need to see what happens.”

South Australia Police will be setting up checkpoints near the South Australian-Queensland border, in addition to officers who are already at Adelaide Airport.

Deputy Police Commissioner Linda Williams urged any incoming drivers from Queensland to be cautious, as to avoid a repeat of the carnage on the South Australian-Victorian border in February when a truck driver died after a three-truck crash at a checkpoint with a long vehicle queue.

“We just urge people to be very cautious,” Williams said.

“Most people we find coming in from Queensland are coming in on flights so I don’t anticipate the stampede in terms of road traffic, but we say to people you need to be cautious on the roads.”

South Australia’s transition committee is set to meet tomorrow, after last week easing density restrictions on the hospitality and retail sector.

Spurrier, whose health advice was overruled in last week’s decision, said the cases in Brisbane were a “pertinent reminder” that it was “up to every one of us to be COVID safe”.

She said because we now have such relaxed restrictions in SA, COVID would “spread very rapidly” if it got into the community.

Anyone with even the slightest symptom is urged to get tested.

“It’s the only way that we can tell whether we’ve got disease in our community,” Spurrier said.

She also asked anyone who had been in Brisbane since March 11 to get tested, because that was around the time an unvaccinated doctor in Brisbane tested positive and would have been infectious.

SA recorded two new cases today – in men who have recently returned from overseas and are in hotel quarantine – bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 16.

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