Crisis talks held, state tightens border restrictions with east coast over Omicron
One state has revealed new border rules following a crisis meeting about the Omicron variant. Here are all the changes.
South Australia will not shut its borders immediately but rules to enter the state will be tougher.
Premier Steven Marshall said at this stage, the state’s borders would remain open, but authorities were very concerned about the Omicron variant.
Mr Marshall confirmed there would be some changes.
People heading to SA from New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT will need to have a test on arrival and isolate until they receive a negative result.
They will also need to get another test on day six of their stay.
With at least 15 cases now suspected in Australia, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens called an emergency meeting on Saturday to decide if the state would implement tougher border restrictions
SA has since introduced additional “speed bumps” to stop the virus.
Mr Marshall warned closing the borders before Christmas was not entirely off the cards.
“We may need to put further restrictions in place in future so people who are travelling interstate need to be aware of that, but we’re going to try give people as much notice as possible,” he said.
“We would do that (close borders) only if we wanted to make sure that we still enjoyed a Christmas here in SA. This is a balancing act.
“We just don't know how this Omicron variant is going to go in Australia. We’re hopeful the severity of the symptoms will be much lower.”
The premier said nobody anticipated a new variant when he made past comments about having no more state wide lockdowns or lockouts.
He said “extremely regular” directions meetings would continue to happen as authorities closely watched the situation as there wasn’t enough information surrounding Omicron.
It was less than two weeks ago that SA opened its borders to all Australian jurisdictions on November 23.
This resulted in Western Australia reinstating its border restrictions with SA.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens told reporters chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier went to Saturday’s meeting with a recommendation to close the border because it was the most “risk adverse” approach to keep Omicron out.
But, he said all aspects were considered during the “lengthy discussion” and based on the information he received, less severe action was taken.
Mr Stevens said the border restrictions could be tightened if Omicron spread significantly in another jurisdiction.
“One big factor for us is that we simply don’t know enough about this at the moment to make any more precise decisions about what we need to do with our borders so we’re trying to step through this gradually and proportionately,” he said.
In response to the growing Omicron numbers, Queensland has declared Greater Adelaide a hotspot.
Arrival restrictions will come into place on Sunday morning.
“Anyone who has been in Greater Adelaide since 1am on the 28th of November who arrives in Queensland after 1am tomorrow will be required to go into 14 days mandatory home or hotel quarantine,” Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’ath said on Saturday.
“They are required to be fully vaccinated.”
Ms D’ath said incoming travellers from Adelaide would not be required to have a negative PCR test.
“What we do require is them to get a test as soon as they possibly can,” she said.
“Anyone arriving after 1am Monday the 6th of December, you will need to receive a negative Covid PCR test result in 72 hours prior to arrival, as well as being fully vaccinated.”
Elsewhere, an Omicron outbreak at Sydney’s Regents Park Christian School has worsened after more students contracted the virus .
Just how a student caught the variant of concern has left authorities baffled, as they had not recently travelled overseas nor had any connection to anyone who recently arrived into Australia.
There are 13 cases linked to the western Sydney school cluster with at least three students that have tested positive.
NSW Health authorities are racing to keep on top of the outbreak as the ACT recorded its first Omicron case in a fully vaccinated person who tested positive on December 1.
Professor Spurrier flagged there were more Covid-19 cases recorded in the state on Saturday but she did not have a figure.
SA recorded four new cases on Friday, with one of them being completely unlinked to the Norwood cluster that sits at 19 infects.
Authorities are working to determine the source of infection in the woman in her 30s who spent time in the Port Noarlunga area, in Adelaide's south.
It’s sparked another urgent call for local residents to get tested if they have even the mildest of symptoms.