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South Australia to reopen to Melbourne travellers on Friday

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South Australia has decided to reopen its border to Greater Melbourne on Friday, following a meeting of the state’s transition committee this morning.

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Travellers from Melbourne will be allowed to enter South Australia from 12:01am on Friday provided they take a COVID test on arrival.

From that point on, they will be free to move around South Australia except in restricted settings like aged care and events that require a COVID management plan such as the football at Adelaide Oval. They are not required to isolate while awaiting a negative test result.

At the same time on Friday, all restrictions on travellers from regional Victoria will be lifted – in time for the start of the Victorian school holidays.

Currently, anyone entering South Australia from regional Victoria must submit to COVID tests on day one, five and 13 of their stay and isolate until they receive their first negative test.

Friday’s scheduled reopening means Melbourne will not reach the 14-day no community transmission benchmark usually set by the transition committee before relaxing border restrictions.

Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens acknowledged the move is “a bit of a step away” from the state’s normal border reopening timetables, but said it reflects how “we are continuing to evolve how we manage COVID-19”.

“Historically we have waited 14 days from the last community transmission,” Stevens told reporters this morning.

“But the way the virus is being managed in Victoria has given our health experts a level of confidence, they believe that within the next couple of days, if it all continues in the same direction, we’ll be in a position where we can make those changes.”

Victoria this morning reported no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, with 51 active cases in the state.

South Australia’s border has been shut to Melbourne since May 26 when a COVID cluster linked to an Adelaide medi-hotel leak reached 15 local cases.

Meanwhile, the transition committee ruled it would not impose any more border restrictions on New South Wales after authorities moved last night to extend testing requirements on travellers from Sydney and surrounding council areas.

However, the decision to stay open to Sydney came before NSW Health reported 10 new COVID-19 cases this morning – bringing the total number of cases associated with a COVID cluster in Sydney’s east to 21.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said mask-wearing is now mandatory in all of Greater Sydney.

SA Police announced late last night that anyone who has recently been in the City of Sydney, Randwick City, Bayside, City of Canada Bay Inner West or Woollahra Municipal Council areas will be required to test on day one, five and 13 of their stay in South Australia, and isolate after their first test.

Arrivals from the Waverley Council area, which includes Bondi Beach, are already banned from entering SA, as well as anyone who has attended a COVID hotspot.

Stevens said health officials are monitoring how the virus is being transmitted in New South Wales but he is reluctant to shut the door to all travellers from the state.

“There are concerns about the outbreaks in New South Wales, but there’s a lot of confidence in relation to how they’re being managed so we’ll keep watching that space,” Stevens said.

“I don’t want to shut the border, obviously there are significant consequences for families and business people travelling for commercial reasons.

“We’re encouraging people to actively consider the need to travel, make sure you have flexible arrangements and just be aware of the fact that things can change while you’re away.”

The state emergency coordinator also said the transition committee discussed the situation in Queensland where there have been two locally acquired cases this week, but there is a “high level of confidence that that’s well and truly under control”.

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