Victoria, Queensland and more have declared Adelaide a COVID hotspot, after South Australia recorded 17 new locally acquired cases.
The outbreak is prompting every state and territory to reassess its borders.
Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, the NT and WA have all announced specific new measures for people arriving from Adelaide and/or SA.
NSW is the only state which has so far decided to keep things as is, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying that Australia “needs to learn to live with COVID”.
Adelaide’s outbreak marks the state’s first confirmed case outside of hotel quarantine in almost eight months.
The chief medical officers from every state will meet on Monday to determine where we go from here.
Meanwhile, here’s the measures every state or territory is imposing right now.
Victoria declared Adelaide a COVID-19 hotspot, but didn’t go as far as imposing quarantine. Anyone arriving from the entire state of South Australia to a Melbourne airport will need to sit down for an interview and possible undergo rapid testing.
“I’ve asked our public health team to look at that because we don’t want to take any chances at all,” Premier Dan Andrews said.
Queensland has also declared Adelaide a hotspot, and will be enforcing mandatory quarantine from midnight tonight.
Anyone who has arrived from Adelaide in the past week should come forward, be tested, and then isolate for 14 days since they left the city, as per Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young‘s directions.
Apparently, that includes about 7,000 people across the state.
“It’s a very rapid increase in cases from four to 17, and some of those cases have been in complex situations – one in a prison for instance – so we need to get more information about where the risks are,” Young said.
Berejiklian has chosen to keep NSW’s borders open – for now.
“The situation in South Australia is very concerning and I note that a number of state governments have announced they will not allow people from that so-called hotspot to enter into their state,” Berejiklian said.
“NSW is not taking that position.”
She made it clear she believes the closing of borders to SA is a bit of an over-step.
“We need to learn to live with COVID,” she said at a press conference today.
“At the end of the day we need to live with the pandemic, have confidence in our system and open up.”
NSW has just hit nine straight days of recording no new locally acquired cases, which rules.
Tasmania hasn’t elevated SA to a ‘medium risk’ level – yet – but is telling anyone who arrived from SA since November 9 (last Monday) to self-quarantine.
“If you are in a home residence to isolate there … if you are staying in accommodation go back to your hotel room and isolate there as well,” Premier Peter Gutwein said.
“In terms of travellers from interstate, we are contacting them proactively as well through the Tassie travel app and we will be sending a similar message to them, in terms of these arrangements.”
WA – which has enforced some of the longest state border closures in Australia – has clamped down shut on SA residents.
Anyone arriving at Perth Airport is either being tested on arrival, or within 24 hours, and told to quarantine in a “suitable premise”, a.k.a. no hotel quarantine.
The same applies to anyone arriving by road: seek testing, then quarantine.
“These are initial steps the State Government is taking to protect all Western Australians, and will be reviewed regularly,” the WA government said in a statement.
“We will monitor the position in South Australia very closely and will strengthen measures if required.”
In a case of truly unfortunate timing, it comes just two days after WA opened back up to SA.
The NT declared the entirety of South Australia a hotspot, effective immediately. Anyone arriving in the NT from SA will have a choice: to either undergo mandatory quarantine, or turn around and head back.
Anyone arriving on Monday or Tuesday will not have to pay the $2,500 fee for supervised quarantine, which is some relief.
“All the information we are getting right now concerns us and there is still so much we don’t know about this outbreak,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.
“The critical point here is [it is] what we don’t know that worries us the most.”
The ACT is now advising caution for travel to and from SA, asking residents to reconsider if they really need to head on over to the state.
⚠️Caution on travel to and from South Australia
With 17 new community cases having been detected in Adelaide in recent days, we're asking ACT residents to reconsider non-essential travel to SA while @SAHealth continues its investigations. Read more here https://t.co/1TN2pVf8Oe pic.twitter.com/LOsIP3ivHg
— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) November 16, 2020