South Australia has rowed back on plans to reopen its border on 20 July to NSW, Victoria and the ACT as concerns grow over an apparent ‘second spike’ of coronavirus cases in Melbourne.
However, Premier Steven Marshall has hinted he could take a more lenient approach with NSW and the ACT, which have fared better in restricting community transmission of the virus.
On Monday, Victoria confirmed 75 new cases, which was the fourth-highest single-day total since the pandemic took hold in Australia. The numbers though have corresponded with a huge testing blitz, while ICU and hospitalisations remain low.
Nonetheless, the rise, which Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton called “absolutely concerning”, has caused SA to rethink opening up its borders more fully.
Currently, SA is open to travellers to all states bar NSW, Victoria and ACT.
Premier Steven Marshall said, “Our number one priority is the health, welfare and safety of all South Australians. At this stage, we cannot lift that border on the 20th July as we were hoping to do.”
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has reiterated her call for the state’s citizens to not welcome Melburnians into their homes.
“If you’re a loved one, a friend or a family member, please don’t come up at this time, until the community transmission is under control,” she said.
She also encouraged her Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk to open her state’s borders ahead of an expected announcement today. NSW has never shut its borders to any state.
“I’m very concerned about what’s happening in Victoria … but having said that, NSW has kept its borders open during the entire time and we’ve managed to get to this place through vigilance and the hard work of the community,” Premier Berejiklian added.
The pair have previously been involved in a tit-for-tat public spat over border closures, with Premier Berejiklian calling Queensland’s plans to shut down until September “ridiculous” before Premier Palaszczuk responded by saying she would not be “lectured to” on the issue.