Fully vaccinated international travellers will no longer need to isolate after landing in South Australia and COVID-19 border rules for domestic arrivals have been scrapped.
Premier Steven Marshall announced the major border changes on Friday when confirming 2093 new infections from 25,943 tests, and the deaths of two aged-care residents with the virus.
“This is in line with the very steep increases that we’re seeing right around the country,” Mr Marshall said.
There are 44 people in SA hospitals with the virus, of which four are in intensive care including one on a ventilator, but all are in a stable condition.
Days after moving from PCR tests to rapid antigen tests for incoming travellers, the state has ditched test and permit requirements altogether, effective immediately.
“It was not a good use of our resources at the moment, and so the entry check requirement has been removed,” Mr Marshall told reporters.
“The rapid antigen test requirement has been removed, but we are asking all of those people coming from interstate into SA to observe exactly the same situation that we require of all SA, and that is to monitor their symptoms and to take action should they develop any symptoms.”
Double-vaccinated international travellers will also no longer need to isolate on arrival from midnight Friday.
Unvaccinated international travellers must isolate.
The government has also made the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for workers in hospitals, aged care, residential aged care and residential disability sectors.
On Thursday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced changes from national cabinet on the definition of a ‘close contact’, as someone who spent four hours or more with a positive case in a household or intimate setting.
Positive cases, regardless of vaccination status, will be able to leave isolation after seven days from their positive test.
But SA will continue with a 10-day quarantine period for cases and close contacts and is not following the national definition, pointing to its different circumstances such as lower case numbers, and is instead classifying a close contact as someone living or intimate with a positive case.
The state is also making exceptional circumstances for vulnerable communities and aged care settings.
SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier caused confusion on Friday when she told ABC local radio anyone who comes into contact with a positive case for more than 15 minutes is classed as a close contact.
Asked to clarify the rules, Mr Marshall said “the reality is, it is variable – if you have had dinner with somebody who (is) symptomatic and a positive case … I think the likelihood is you’ve probably got a high chance of getting it. I’d be getting a PCR test.
“But just so you know there are millions and millions of different variations of that precise matter and so you cannot be providing a matrix on every single outcome.”
SA is providing financial support to businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions, such as tourism, hospitality, fitness and CBD businesses.