South Australia weighing up slamming border shut over Omicron fears
South Australian authorities have imposed new border rules saying they are “extraordinarily concerned” about Omicron cases in Australia.
South Australia authories have emerged from emergency talks today with a decision to keep borders with NSW, Victoria and the ACT open for the time being, but said they were “extraordinarily concerned” about Omicron cases and there will be more rules for travellers into the state.
Following the meeting, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said people from New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT will be required to have a Covid test on arrival into the state. If they plan on staying in South Australia, they will need to have a further test on day six.
Quarantine for international arrivals will go back to 14 days. He said these measures take immediate effect.
The announcement came amid fears the state could shut its borders within days, after an emergency meeting was called today.
However, Mr Marshall said authorities, despite being“extraordinarily concerned”, had decided to keep the border open for now.
“We don’t know enough about the Omicron variant at this stage so we are being extremely cautious,” he said.
Mr Marshall said the new border rules had “nothing to do with Delta”.
“It has everything to do with the Omicron variant that we still do not have as much information as we need,” he said.
“Now, my primary responsibility is to keep South Australia safe and to keep our economy strong. We are the fastest growing economy in the entire country at the moment so we’ve got a lot to lose if we get this wrong.
“My strong message to every South Australian who hasn’t been vaccinated - now is the time to get vaccinated.”
The Advertiser newspaper reported this morning that authorities are looking at shutting the state’s borders.
If brought in, the clampdown on interstate arrivals would mark just two weeks since the state’s borders were reopened.
It comes after South Australia reported four new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, after a school reunion in Norwood in Adelaide turned into a spreader event this week.
South Australia police commissioner Grant Stevens said last night there had been crisis talks throughout Friday regarding “what steps are appropriate for SA to ensure we are able to manage whatever the Omicron variant brings us”.
Senior government sources told The Advertiser authorities were “really concerned” about “lax” international quarantine rules in NSW and Victoria and the Sydney Omicron outbreak.
Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier has twice in the past week requested borders be closed but no changes were made.
Overnight, Western Australia brought back a hard border with South Australia.
This all comes amid fears of further spread of the Omicron variant.
NSW Health said genomic sequencing has confirmed two more cases of the new variant linked to an outbreak at Regents Park Christian School in western Sydney and urgent genome testing is underway on a further 10 cases linked to the cluster.
It follows the state recording its first suspected locally acquired case of Omicron earlier this morning at the school, with the student having no links to overseas travel.
“NSW Health is urgently investigating the source of infection for this cluster,” it said in a statement.
One of the confirmed Omicron cases also attended a Sydney indoor climbing gym in Villawood on Saturday November 27 for almost eight hours between 9am and 4.30pm.
The site has been classified as a close contact venue and anyone who attended must immediately get tested and isolate.
Two further cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in returned travellers, who are family members of a case confirmed yesterday. These people arrived on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney on 23 November.
These travellers had not been in southern Africa and NSW Health said it was concerned transmission may have occurred on this flight. They are both fully vaccinated.
The total confirmed cases of omicron in NSW is 13.