Border restrictions to be lifted 

26 August 2020

Good news for cross-border health care workers barred from entering SA last week.

The State Government is reintroducing a 40km buffer zone for people living either side of the Victorian border from Friday, allowing people in close border communities to move in and out of South Australia more freely.

Last week SA was closed off to everyone except essential travellers coming from Victoria. Not even health care workers were exempt.

An aged care worker who lives in the Victorian town of Nelson, 4km from the South-East border, told Channel 9 news last week she and other cross-border staff who work at Mt Gambier’s Boandik aged care facility had been barred from entering SA by SA Health.

Another cross-border nurse who works at Naracoorte Hospital had also been denied entry into SA. The bans prompted fears about patient care and staff shortages.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the reintroduction of the 40km buffer zone was the result of a fall in the number of virus cases in regional areas close to SA and the provision of detailed information about those cases, including their source and the high level of testing, InDaily reports.

 “I’m very confident it will be safe to go back to having that 40km buffer zone,” Professor Spurrier was quoted.

“That does make life easier for a large number of people.”

Premier Steven Marshall also flagged dropping border restrictions for people from NSW and the ACT, according to InDaily, and said officials were looking carefully at the need for people to quarantine for two weeks if they entered SA from those jurisdictions.

He said while there would be no immediate announcement, the border measures could be lifted in September.

Other restrictions changes include a lifting of the home gathering cap from 10 to 50 people, which will come into force from Friday, InDaily reports.

People travelling into SA from Western Australia, the NT, Tasmania and Queensland will also be allowed to make a transit stop at Canberra or Sydney Airports without having to self-isolate for 14 days.