Omicron: New South Australia border rules imposed for NSW, Victoria and ACT

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Authorities in South Australia have imposed new rules saying they are “extraordinarily concerned” about Omicron infections.

Authorities in South Australia emerged from emergency talks today with a decision to keep borders with NSW, Victoria and ACT open for the time being, but said they were “extraordinarily concerned” about the Omicron case and that there would be more rules for travelers in the state.

Following the meeting, South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall said residents of New South Wales, Victoria and ACT will need to be tested for Covid upon arrival in the state. If they plan to stay in South Australia, they will have to take another test on the sixth day.

The quarantine for international arrivals will be restored to 14 days. He said these measures take effect immediately.

The announcement came amid fears the state would close its borders within days, after an emergency meeting was called today.

However, Marshall said authorities, despite their “extreme concern”, had decided to keep the border open for the time being.

“We don’t know enough about the Omicron variant at this point, so we’re extremely cautious,” he said.

Mr Marshall said the new border rules had “nothing to do with Delta”.

“It has everything to do with the Omicron variant that we still don’t have as much information as we need,” he said.

“Now my primary responsibility is to ensure the security of South Australia and to keep our economy strong. We are currently the fastest growing economy in the whole country, so we have a lot to lose if we get it wrong.

“My strong message to all South Australians who haven’t been vaccinated – now is the time to get vaccinated.”

The advertiser The newspaper reported this morning that authorities are considering closing the state borders.

If enforced, the crackdown on interstate arrivals would mark barely two weeks since the state borders reopened.

It comes after South Australia reported four new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, after a school reunion at Norwood in Adelaide turned into a spreading event this week.

South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said last night that there had been crisis discussions throughout Friday regarding ‘what steps are appropriate for SA to ensure that we are able to handle all that the Omicron variant brings us ”.

Senior government sources said The advertiser authorities were “really concerned” about “lax” international quarantine rules in New South Wales and Victoria and the Sydney Omicron outbreak.

Chief Public Health Officer Prof Nicola Spurrier has twice called for border closures in the past week, but no changes have been made.

Overnight, Western Australia brought down a hard border with South Australia.

This all comes amid fears of a further spread of the Omicron variant.

NSW Health said genomic sequencing had confirmed two more cases of the new variant linked to an outbreak at Regents Park Christian School in western Sydney and urgent genomic testing was underway on 10 more cases linked to the cluster.

It follows that the state registered its first suspected case of locally acquired Omicron earlier this morning at school, with the student unrelated to overseas travel.

“NSW Health is urgently investigating the source of infection in this cluster,” he said in a statement.

One of Omicron’s confirmed cases also visited a Sydney indoor climbing gym in Villawood on Saturday, November 27 for nearly eight hours between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The site has been classified as a place of close contact and anyone who has attended should immediately get tested and self-isolate.

Two more cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in returning travelers, who are family members of a case confirmed yesterday. These people arrived on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney on November 23.

These travelers had not been to southern Africa and NSW Health said it was concerned transmission had occurred on that flight. They are both fully vaccinated.

The total number of confirmed omicron cases in NSW is 13.

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