Current Issue #488

South Australia to restore 50-person cap for home gatherings, reintroduce border ‘buffer zone’

Residents straddling either side of the South Australian-Victorian border have gained a reprieve, just four days after a harder border came into effect on Friday.

From midnight on Thursday 27 August, ‘cross border community’ members living within a 40km “buffer zone” will once again be able to move back and forth across state lines. The reversal comes as Victorian case numbers appear to have peaked, and the risk of regional clusters seeding new cases in South Australia has eased.

“The reason we’re saying Thursday is it will have been 14 days, a full incubation period, since the last case was diagnosed in the Glenelg Shire,” Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said of the ongoing caseload in western Victoria.

“What we’ve seen in other parts of the country and other parts of the world is governments trying to play catch up,” Premier Steven Marshall said of the pre-emptive move to announce harder borders as the Victorian situation continued to deteriorate, only for the previous settings to be restored after a handful of days. “We don’t want to Stage Four lockdown in South Australia, we have to take proactive steps based upon health advice. We know it has been hugely disruptive, and we have always said that we won’t keep it in place one day longer than we need to.”

In addition to the changes along our physical border, the state government has also taken a step towards easing restrictions between the ACT and New South Wales. From Friday, travellers who stopover in Canberra or Sydney while en route from approved states and territories (Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory) will no longer have to undertake 14-day isolation.

“We are very pleased with the continuing good performance of those two jurisdictions [NSW and ACT],” Marshall said. “We are not announcing today that that border will be removed, but what we are saying is we’re looking at this very closely at this and if we continue to see very low levels like we’re seeing, it’s quite possible that we will lose that requirement for 14 day self-isolation in the next two weeks.”

Closer to home, from Friday the cap on visitors to the home will be lifted from its 4 August level of 10 people to 50.

As of Tuesday 25 August there have been a total of 463 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Australia, with three active cases in the state and 354,000 tests undertaken. Readers are advised to consult SA Health’s website for the latest information.

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
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Walter is a writer, editor and broadcaster living on Kaurna Country. His work has appeared in Rip It Up, Broadsheet, The Saturday Paper, The Guardian Australia, The Thousands, dB Magazine, Jetstar Magazine and Royal Auto. 

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