SA becomes latest state to close borders

By | March 22, 2020

Premier Steven Marshall announced on Sunday that anyone entering the state would be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation period.

The new measures will take effect immediately but will be supported by border control from 4pm on Tuesday.

They will not affect the state’s essential services, including health workers, patients and freight and food supply services.

“We do not make this decision lightly but we have no choice,” Mr Marshall told reporters

“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 this disease.”

Patrol stations at 12 entry points will be monitored 24 hours a day and anyone entering the state will be forced to sign a declaration agreeing to self-isolate.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said the number of cases had jumped by 33 overnight, taking the state’s total to 100.

Dr Spurrier also said the virus had spread to the regional areas of the Barossa, Waikerie and Whyalla, but there have not been any admissions to intensive care.

She said there had still not been any evidence of community transmission, though a number of the new cases had not yet been traced.

State authorities including police moved to declare a “major emergency” on Sunday, triggering the border shutdown.

But Police Commissioner Grant Stevens admitted authorities were limited in their ability to enforce the isolation orders.

SA Police have been checking on those who have already been ordered to self-isolate after disembarking international flights.

He said authorities were “relying on people’s community and sense of goodwill to do the right thing”, and that overwhelmingly people had been complying with orders.

Mr Stevens said police had not issued any fines or initiated prosecutions against people caught breaching their obligations.

“We can’t check every person, we are relying on people to do the right thing,” he told reporters.

“Every single person we’ve spoken to during our random checks is complying with the obligation to self-isolate.”

South Australia’s announcement comes after similar restrictions were put in place in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The isolation requirements will not apply to health personnel and patients or emergency services.

Australian Associated Press

Western Advocate – Health