The South Australian government has moved to shut borders as part of a tough new measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus within the state.
In a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Premier Steven Marshall announced the new measures that are being taken in the interest of “public health”, declaring it a state of “major emergency.”
From 4pm on Tuesday March 24, the State Government will require all incoming travellers to sign a health declaration and agree to self-isolate for two weeks. The new restrictions apply to non-essential travel, meaning that freight and transport of goods and services, in addition to medical personnel, patients and emergency service workers will be exempt from the rule.
An exemption to the new rule will also be put in place for people living in border communities, who regularly cross the state line for work. Provided there are no coronavirus outbreaks in border towns, these residents will be exempt from the legislation.
Additionally, FIFO workers in mining communities and national level sporting teams have the possibility to receive an exemption from the new rules if they can provide proof of “approved disease control mechanisms.”
“We received this advice from the chief public health officer in South Australia,” he said. “She was very clear that we’ve got to do everything we can to reduce the high-risk areas … predominantly from people coming across the borders for holidays.”
State police officers will be stationed at 12 border crossings on all sides of the state, where travellers will be informed of the requirements and be required to undertake a mandatory 14 day self-isolation period.
“What we have seen in recent days is an increasing number of people who have contracted the virus from people visiting from interstate or South Australians who have been interstate returning to South Australia.”
“This has forced our decision to close our borders in South Australia.”
Premier Steven Marshall’s declaration of a state of “major emergency” overrides the previous public health emergency declaration.
“I’m ordering the effective closure of our borders to protect the health of South Australians by slowing the spread of the virus.”
“The health of South Australians is unquestionably our number one priority and that is why we are acting swiftly and decisively to protect them from the impact of the disease.”
The news comes as NSW and Victoria announce plans to shut down all non-essential services in the next 48 hours.