Premier of South Australia Steven Marshall has said he’s hoping to drop quarantine requirements for NSW and ACT within two weeks.
The news comes a day after he also said he would significantly loosen restriction for SA–Victoria border communities and pledged to remove quarantine for those who have transferred through Sydney or Canberra airport.
“We’ve got back to a COVID-normal in South Australia,” said Marshall. “Nobody has a crystal ball, but we have put ourselves in the very best position in South Australia by working with the public to adhere to the very strict restrictions we put in place.”
Currently, those travelling to SA from NSW and the ACT have to quarantine for 14 days, however, Premier Marshall has indicated lowering COVID-19 case numbers in NSW mean that could soon be relaxed.
South Australia is currently open to all other states, bar Victoria.
The news comes after he announced yesterday, he was to rapidly soften restrictions on SA–Vic border communities, in an apparent U-turn.
On Friday, 21 August new regulations meant Victorians in those areas couldn’t enter South Australia at all – even for medical purposes. However, days later, this was scaled back so that residents could enter for education, shopping and medical needs.
“The buffer zone that previously existed with Victoria will be reinstated as of Thursday night at midnight,” Marshall said on Tuesday. “There is one caveat on this and that is that we don’t have further community transmission in that western part of Victoria between now and [then].”
The border between SA and Victoria became a huge issue last week when Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud raised the example of a young girl with cancer from Victoria whose treatment has been affected by the restrictions.
“In far western Victoria there’s a three-and-a-half-year-old girl who’s got cancer. She’s actually wearing a colostomy bag and has lost part of her spine and was getting chemotherapy in Adelaide,” Minister Littleproud told Radio National.
“Now because of the closure, she’s unable to get chemo in Adelaide and has now been pushed away. Her family are going to have to take her hundreds upon hundreds of kilometres away to get treatment.
“We’re just asking our premiers to inject themselves and lead on compassionate human grounds as well.”
Then last Friday, after a national cabinet meeting, Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews suggested progress was being made on a deal with South Australia to allow residents to cross for medical purposes.
“We’ve just got to try and make it as workable as we can,” said Premier Andrews. “And the good thing is that there is real goodwill and a genuine interest in not undermining the public health imperative to not see the virus spread, but to be as sensible as we possibly can be.”
Separately, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said state leaders had agreed to work towards defining what constitutes a COVID-19 hotspot, but hadn’t reached a deal to determine how that would affect borders.