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SA close contact rules on agenda as Vic, NSW scrap isolation demand

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South Australia will aim for “national consistency” on close contact rules, police commissioner Grant Stevens says, as both Victoria and New South Wales scrap isolation requirements for family contacts of COVID-19 cases.

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It comes as South Australia recorded another two COVID-19 deaths and 4256 cases today, up from 3829 infections yesterday.

The spike in cases coincides with a mid-week spike in testing, with SA Health conducting 12,013 PCR swabs on Tuesday – up 16.1 per cent on the day before.

There are currently 252 people in hospital with COVID-19, up from 245 on Tuesday.

Of the 245 reported to be in hospital yesterday, 46 had been hospitalised for other medical issues not related to COVID-19, according to the State Government.

The Victorian and NSW government announced today that close contacts of people who have COVID-19 will, from Friday, no longer have to isolate for seven days.

Instead, close contacts in those states will be required to return five negative rapid antigen tests over seven days, wear a mask indoors and avoid high-risk settings.

Stevens said South Australian authorities discussed easing close contact rules at Tuesday’s Emergency Management Council meeting.

“It’s on the agenda for us, ideally, and I think the Premier (Peter Malinauskas) has made this point quite clearly that he’s keen for national consistency wherever possible,” Stevens told FIVEaa this morning.

“We’re looking at it now, it’ll be on the agenda for our next EMC.

“I think there is a lot of consultation happening with eastern states to find out exactly what their plan is so we can align what South Australia looks like going forward.”

The State Government is already facing renewed calls from the business community to drop close contact isolation requirements.

Business SA director of policy and advocacy Kendall Crowe said South Australia needed to “fall in line” with the national position on close contacts.

“We’ve heard from the South Australian business community, and they need these close contact rules to be gone,” she said.

“Businesses are being crippled, the rules are creating stress and mental health problems, and creating havoc with rosters.”

Victoria and NSW also today announced they will be dropping vaccine mandates, check-ins and mask requirements in schools.

Stevens said the requirements for all adults and students from years 7 to 12 to wear masks in South Australia’s schools would be on the agenda next Tuesday.

“It was briefly mentioned at the EMC meeting on Tuesday, it’ll be up for discussion next week prior to those plans being put in place for school to go back,” he said.

“We’re still dealing with the fact that if one family member gets COVID, it does impact on the rest of the people who live in that house.

“So there are discussions about whether we can go into the next school term without masks being worn by students or teachers – but that’s not resolved yet.”

Term two in South Australia is due to begin on May 2.

-With AAP 

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