South Australia will open its borders to travelers from New Zealand, take effect immediately, and allow 12 people who have recently arrived at quarantine hotels to enter the community.
The main point:
- New Zealand residents can travel to SA without quarantine
- The twelve tourists currently in hotel quarantine can leave
- Residents of border communities will enjoy more freedom of movement
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens also announced that the state would ease restrictions on its tough border with Victoria, and would also further free up travel in regional border communities.
It was revealed yesterday Five New Zealand travelers arrived unexpectedly at Adelaide Airport on Sunday and put in a hotel quarantine, at their own expense.
Commissioner Stevens has revealed there are now 12 New Zealand tourists in hotel quarantine and they are being contacted for release.
“I am pleased to announce that with the arrival of New Zealanders in SA, they will no longer be required to quarantine,” he said.
“We are also pleased to receive direct flights from New Zealand.
Commissioner Stevens said SA authorities had been in direct contact with New Zealand authorities and there was now a “level of comfort” that would allow the state’s coronavirus transition committee to make its decision.
“We don’t have specific advice yet regarding the status of COVID-19 in New Zealand [when the travellers arrived], “Said Commissioner Stevens.
“Health advice has been assessed through direct communication through our Chief Public Health Officer with New Zealand authorities and there is a level of comfort there in terms of the level of COVID-19 that will allow us to make this decision.”
Commissioner Stevens said it was unfortunate that some travelers had experienced such discomfort in such a short time.
“But we do not apologize for taking steps to ensure the safety of the South Australian community,” he said.
“These people will be uncomfortable for a relatively short time, while we are making the right assessment of the risk in South Australia.”
SA is loosening its tough border with Victoria
To date, people from Victoria – including South Australian citizens – have been barred from traveling to SA unless they have essential traveler status.
Under the changes announced today, people will be allowed to move to South Australia without exception, but they will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Changes do not apply to short-term stays.
“People from Victoria who are trying to move to South Australia – we are changing course to allow them to do so without having to look for exceptions,” said Commissioner Stevens.
“They must provide specific information regarding permanent employment or accommodation. We will be able to allow this to occur without having to implement an exemption process.
Today, people in the cross-border communities of South Australia and Victoria are present capable of traveling up to 70 kilometers on either side of the border, for essential purposes only.
Those restrictions will also be relaxed to allow people to travel between communities across borders without any particular reason.
“If you live in a cross-border community, you can travel freely within 70 kilometers on either side of the border, with no specific destination… identified.”
The state transition committee has not explained when the border changes will take effect.
NZ travelers have been released from quarantine
It didn’t take long for some of the recent arrivals from New Zealand to be notified of the change in protocol, and released from quarantine.
Rob, who had been in New Zealand as a key worker, was put into an Adelaide hotel after being quarantined in NSW.
He said he had struggled to get an immediate answer on quarantine obligations.
“We sat at the airport for about an hour and a half waiting to find out which hotel to go to – you know, four police officers were sitting there and nobody knew.”
Eighteen-year-old Casey, who traveled from Auckland and was released from quarantine today, blamed the authorities for the border chaos.
“On their website – I saw a lot of things – it said some things I could, some things that said I couldn’t, it was all confusing,” he said.
She said she was now “really excited because I had a party and things I had to attend”.
The bubble movement follows controversy
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham urged South Australia to join the trans-Tasman travel bubble this morning.
“I think it’s a very, very strong basis for South Australia to think about joining New South Wales and the Northern Territory in allowing New Zealanders to enter SA free of charge,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
The Birmingham minister said there was only “one active case [in] all of New Zealand “and as such NSW and NT have opened their borders” on the basis of good health and health “.
According to the latest figures on the New Zealand Ministry of Health websiteIn fact, there are 37 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 36 currently in isolation or quarantine.
The minister’s office clarified that he was referring to one case of COVID-19 diagnosed outside of quarantine in New Zealand on Saturday.
It was the first case of community transmission detected in the country in three weeks.
The trans-Tasman travel bubble has caused controversy in recent days due to its abundance New Zealand tourists arriving in NSW and NT, continuing to travel to states that have not officially participated.
Said Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews His government has repeatedly asked to be removed from the travel bubble arrangement.
But the Birmingham minister said this morning that every state and territory understands the full implications of the travel bubble before New Zealanders arrive.