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SA closes border to Greater Melbourne again, tightens restrictions here

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UPDATED: South Australia will close its border to travellers from Greater Melbourne, Geelong and Bacchus Marsh and reimpose a series of internal restrictions, including a return to 50 per cent capacity at public venues, as all of Victoria prepares to enter a five-day lockdown.

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Premier Steven Marshall told reporters this afternoon that growing coronavirus case numbers and exposure sites in Victoria and New South Wales were a “major wakeup call for South Australians” and restrictions would be imposed in response.

Internal restrictions to be reimposed from midnight tonight include:

Marshall said the restrictions would be in place “for as short a period of time as possible”.

From midnight tonight, only returning South Australians will be allowed to travel from Victoria back into the state.

Those who visited Greater Melbourne, Geelong and Bacchus Marsh will be required to undertake 14 days of home quarantine and get tested on days one, five and 13 after their arrival.

Those who visited all other parts of Victoria will be subjected to level three restrictions, meaning they will not need to quarantine but will be required to get tested on days one, five and 13 after arriving.

Travellers can transit through Melbourne Airport without needing to quarantine.

The 70-kilometre bubble will remain for residents of border communities.

South Australia will no longer lift border restrictions for southeast Queensland as scheduled, after that state recorded three new locally-acquired positive cases today.

However, it will proceed with lifting border restrictions for Townsville and Birdsville.

There are no changes to South Australia’s border restrictions with the ACT and New South Wales.

Only permitted returning South Australians are allowed to return from those states following an exemptions process.

“We do all these things to make sure that we don’t have a lockdown in South Australia,” Marshall said.

“We have seen a huge amount of movement across the Victorian-South Australian border, the Queensland-South Australian border as a result of the school holidays.

“We know that there are now worrying developments in those jurisdictions (and) we need to take action both in terms of our own border, but also internally in South Australia.”

Marshall said South Australia had the lowest level of restrictions in the country and if the highly-transmissible delta coronavirus strain crossed the border, it would move “very, very quickly”.

SA Health has identified 150 people who have been at exposure sites in Victoria and are currently in South Australia.

Of those, 130 people visited the MCG for the Geelong vs Carlton game on Saturday afternoon, which is now listed as an exposure site.

They have been ordered into 14-day quarantine.

A further 8705 people who travelled from Victoria to South Australia since July 8 have received SMS messages from SA Health asking if they visited exposure sites.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick said there were two new coronavirus cases reported in South Australia today.

Both acquired the infection overseas and are currently in a medi-hotel.

Victoria enters five-day lockdown

All of Victoria will go into lockdown from midnight tonight in an effort to contain the growing outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the state.

It will be Melbourne’s third lockdown this year and the fifth since the pandemic began.

The lockdown is expected to end at 11.59pm next Tuesday night.

People are only able to leave home for five reasons – to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise, work or study if they are unable to from home, and to get vaccinated.

There are now 18 locally-acquired coronavirus cases in Victoria, with two new cases revealed this afternoon.

New South Wales has recorded 65 new local COVID-19 cases this morning, bringing the current outbreak’s total to 929.

Of the 65 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, at least 35 people were out in the community for part or all of their infectious period.

Queensland has also recorded three new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today and will extend a face mask mandate for another week.

238 people in quarantine linked to Tailem Bend exposure sites

Kirkpatrick said there are currently 238 people in quarantine in South Australia linked to the two infectious removalists who stopped in Tailem Bend.

The removalists tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, after travelling through South Australia to relocate a western Sydney family to McLaren Vale.

There are three exposure sites in Tailem Bend where the infectious removalists visited while potentially infectious: the Tailem Bend Shell service station and neighbouring Coolabah Tree Café between 5.20pm and 7pm on Friday, July 9, and the OTR Tailem Bend Motorsport Park service station on the Dukes Highway between 7:20am to 8:15am on the same day.

Anyone who visited those sites at the prescribed times must immediately self-isolate and get tested.

Authorities are still reviewing CCTV footage to determine whether the number of people who entered the OTR service station correlates with the number of QR code check-ins.

Kirkpatrick said 25 QR code check-ins were recorded at the motorsport park service station during the at-risk period, but authorities expect more people visited the station and did not check-in.

“We know this is a very popular stop – it is on the way out of South Australia and is used frequently by truck drivers in that particular vicinity,” she said.

“It is concerning that we do not have a full picture in terms of who has checked-in to that location.

“I cannot stress enough, we do need the community to use the QR check-ins – it is so important, it is crucial and critical for our contact tracing team that they can access that QR data.”

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said police would not fine businesses or people for not checking-in, as doing so could impede people from coming forward if they have visited an exposure site.

The eight people who were working at the OTR Motorsport Park service station have all returned negative test results.

Marshall said authorities “don’t envisage any further announcements” regarding additional community exposure sites after authorities reviewed phone and GPS data.

Kirkpatrick said SA Pathology had extended testing times at Tailem Bend and Victoria Park.

No medi-hotel transmission at Stamford Hotel

Kirkpatrick said genomics testing had confirmed that there was no coronavirus transmission within the Stamford medi-hotel, after SA Health flagged the possibility yesterday afternoon.

She said that one of the positive cases detected in the hotel was the alpha strain of coronavirus and the other was the delta variant.

“They’re very clearly two separate genomics,” she said.

“These cases are not linked and there was no risk then for the remaining five guests who were on that floor, nor any risk for the travellers who were previously on that floor who had departed.”

Further tests that were undertaken on the man aged in his 40s who tested positive yesterday on day 13 of his quarantine have determined that he is an historical case.

The five travellers who were quarantining on the same floor as the two infectious cases will no longer be required to undertake a further 14 days of quarantine.

Both positive cases have been transferred to Tom’s Court medi-hotel, which is a dedicated facility for infectious people.

– with AAP

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