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SA reopening plan announcement imminent


South Australia’s long-awaited “COVID-Ready” plan will be released early this afternoon, with authorities expected to detail when borders will reopen and restrictions will ease.

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The State Government has called a press conference for 1.15 today to reveal the highly-anticipated roadmap, which is expected to chart what happens when the state hits its 80 per cent vaccination target and opens up to COVID-hit eastern states.

But it’s not yet clear whether commissioned modelling from the Doherty Institute showing the subsequent surge in COVID cases will also be made public today, with the state’s emergency coordinator Grant Stevens telling reporters after this morning’s transition committee meeting that he was unsure when authorities would release “the full data set that would support the decision-making”.

As of Sunday, 79.3 per cent of South Australians over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 62.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Stevens said the transition committee held “very productive meetings” in the lead up to this afternoon’s announcement, but admitted tensions had risen between some members of the committee.

“With a group of people like that you expect tensions to arise because we are looking for a way forward for South Australia and the last thing we want is for everyone to just sit around and just blindly follow one piece of advice,” he said.

“We’ve been testing people’s positions on different aspects and we’ve been doing that the whole way through.

“It’s served us very well in South Australia (and) I wouldn’t want to see a committee where everybody just sat there mute and not actually putting their 10 cents-worth in.

“(There’s) good outcomes for South Australia so far and we’re hopeful that we can maintain that going forward.”

Asked to provide detail about the plan, or whether members of the transition committee were unanimous in their support, Stevens responded: “there’s a press conference at 1.15”.

SA Health told InDaily this morning that it was unclear when South Australia would reach its 80 per cent double-dose vaccination target for those aged 16 and over, with the projected date changing “frequently”.

But the health department said the state was on track to reach the target “sometime in early December”.

Premier Steven Marshall has previously said that the Government would allow people from the COVID-hit eastern states to travel into South Australia without needing to quarantine before Christmas, but he was unable to specify exactly when or what testing requirements would be enforced.

The transition committee’s chair and Department of the Premier and Cabinet chief executive Nick Reade said yesterday that the committee was still waiting for the Doherty Institute to hand down final modelling.

He said until then, the COVID-Ready plan wouldn’t be released.

Asked this morning whether the finalised modelling had since been received by the Government, Stevens responded: “as I’ve said, 1.15 (press conference)”.

Confirmation of the COVID-Ready plan’s imminent release comes after the Australian Medical Association yesterday ramped up pressure on the State Government to unveil its roadmap out of the pandemic.

Doctors argued they need more guidance on when to expect the predicted surge in COVID infections, while expressing concerns about the coronavirus delta variant making its way across the border before South Australia had a plan in place.

Meanwhile, several government departments have asked staff to reveal whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the state’s reopening.

Education Department bosses issued a memo to staff ordering them to update their vaccination status by tomorrow, while the Child Protection Department has given its employees until November 1 to reveal whether they have been vaccinated.

It comes after InDaily yesterday reported that the state government’s event-management company, Adelaide Venue Management Corporation – which runs the Adelaide Convention Centre, the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and Coopers Stadium – asked its staff to reveal their vaccination status.

The corporation said the edict was required in order to “maximise the opportunities for staff to again receive regular work”.

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