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SA border entry and testing rules clarified ahead of Tuesday reopening

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The State Government has moved to end confusion around testing requirements and entry rules for the thousands of people who are expected to travel into South Australia from next Tuesday, with vaccinated arrivals from all Victorian and most New South Wales local government areas given the all clear to enter without quarantining.

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Just four days out from reopening the state’s borders, Premier Steven Marshall this morning confirmed that the Government had addressed the data anomaly issue that previously would have prevented travellers from local government areas – including the Cities of Sydney and Melbourne – from entering South Australia without having to quarantine.

Revised vaccination data to be used by SA Health shows all Victorian and New South Wales LGAs have double-dose vaccination rates above 80 per cent, except Byron Bay, which is sitting in the high-70s.

The data means fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from Victoria and New South Wales will be allowed to enter South Australia from next Tuesday without having to quarantine.

But those who are coming from Byron Bay will still have to quarantine until that LGA reaches the 80 per cent double-dose vaccination threshold.

“We know that this (data anomaly issue) has caused enormous frustration for people who haven’t been sure whether they can come in from next Tuesday or not,” Marshall told reporters this morning.

“The good news is that’s all been clarified now and as of next Tuesday we are good to go, those borders will come up and people will be able to come into South Australia.”

But there will be testing requirements in place, with Marshall announcing that anyone travelling from Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT will be required to provide evidence of having had a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arriving in South Australia.

Those travelling from others jurisdictions with double-dose vaccination rates between 80 and 90 per cent will also be required to get tested once they arrive in South Australia.

Vaccinated returning South Australian residents leaving the state for 72 hours or less will not be required to get tested.

Marshall said travellers won’t need to isolate until they get their test result.

“We are the first jurisdiction in the entire country that is COVID-free that is lifting our borders,” he said.

“There is some risk associated with this and that’s why we’re putting these speed humps in the way of the disease taking hold in South Australia.”

From next Tuesday, unvaccinated travellers will be required to seek an exemption from SA Health to come into South Australia.

They will also be required to quarantine either at home if SA Health deems their residence to be appropriate or otherwise in a medi-hotel.

Fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from overseas will only be required to quarantine for seven days instead of 14 and will also be given the option to isolate at home if SA Health grants them approval.

To cope with the expected surge in testing demand, an additional 100 SA Pathology staff will be recruited and the Victoria Park and Ridgehaven testing sites will open 24/7 from Tuesday.

The State Government is also getting rid of the SA Police cross border travel registration form and will replace it with a new online portal called “EntryCheck SA”, which will come online at 5pm this afternoon on the sa.gov.au website.

Everyone planning to travel into South Australia from Tuesday is required to apply for approval via the new system, which will use travellers’ information tell them “almost instantaneously” whether they are allowed into the state and, if so, whether they need to get tested or quarantine.

It may also tell vaccinated people arriving from interstate areas with community transmission or from overseas to use a new HealthCheck SA app as part of their entry conditions.

Those people will be sent a link to download the HealthCheck SA app, which will help them monitor daily symptoms and guide them through testing or quarantine requirements.

The HealthCheck SA app uses geolocation and live face-recognition technology to ensure that people who are entering South Australia from high-risk areas are complying with quarantine and testing requirements.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick said she expected thousands of people to submit information the EntryCheck SA system when it comes online this afternoon.

“We are definitely expecting a surge in travellers coming across,” she said.

“I think we absolutely know that people will be excited to travel back into South Australia and, of course, people leaving South Australia to travel interstate and come back in.”

Kirkpatrick said SA Health and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet had tested the EntryCheck SA portal over the past week and were satisfied that it worked well.

Meanwhile, from next Tuesday, people will have the option to add their digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate to the mySA Gov app so that they can quickly prove their vaccination status when entering businesses and venues.

Kirkpatrick said people who do not have access to the technology can ask their GP to print a physical copy of their vaccination certificate.

“I know a number of GPs have been helping patients with that,” she said.

“That’s an easy way then to show proof of your vaccine status.”

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