SA Health has announced stricter testing requirements for visitors from the Greater Brisbane area amid concerns about the spread of a mutant UK strain of the coronavirus which escaped hotel quarantine.

Key points:

  • From midnight on Friday, travellers from Greater Brisbane will need to quarantine
  • SA Health is contacting people who need to isolate
  • Two further cases in SA have been linked to the mutant UK strain

The South Australian Government declared the Greater Brisbane area a COVID-19 hotspot at midday and announced that anyone coming into the state from the region from midnight tonight would be required to quarantine for two weeks.

On Friday evening, SA Health added that anyone who has been in the area between January 2 and Thursday would need to get tested and isolate until a result arrived and then do another test on day five.

Anyone who arrived in Adelaide on Friday would also need to get tested on their 12th day in South Australia but would not need to isolate after their fifth-day test.

Travellers from Brisbane have also been advised not to attend events with more than 1,000 people, or licensed premises with dancing.

In a statement, SA Health said it was contacting individuals affected after earlier advice that travellers from Brisbane did not need to isolate while waiting for results.

More than 1 million residents across Greater Brisbane will be placed into a three-day lockdown later today as authorities try to prevent a potentially “catastrophic” outbreak of the highly contagious strain.

It comes as South Australia records three new cases of coronavirus, all of whom are returning travellers currently in medi-hotels.

A man in his 40s, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s all tested positive.

It has also been revealed that, after further testing, another two cases in the state are positive for the UK strain.

“One of those might prove to be an old case and we are doing some further testing,” SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said.

“[While] we’ve got somebody who has been out in the Queensland community with that particular variant, we do actually have that variant here in our own state and we have to be very mindful of that.”

She said it was important to act quickly but still give people some notice of the changes, so that anyone arriving on flights this afternoon would not be required to quarantine.

“To facilitate this, we’ve already made plans [for] additional testing at Adelaide Airport.

“Anybody who comes from the Greater Brisbane area into our state will require day one, day five and day 12 testing.”

‘Reconsider any travel’

Professor Spurrier also urged people in South Australia to rethink any plans to travel to Queensland.

“It is absolutely important for every South Australian to reconsider any travel plans that they may have with Queensland,” she said.

“I happen to be in the unfortunate situation of having to rethink my own travel plans.”

Premier Steven Marshall said anyone travelling from Brisbane to SA will have to quarantine from midnight tonight.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

Premier Steven Marshall said National Cabinet had today decided to make mask wearing compulsory on both international and domestic flights.

Emerging from the meeting today, Mr Marshall said the cabinet has also decided to implement a policy of testing all people coming back to Australia before they board their flights.

He said Australia will not increase the overall number of repatriations at this stage.

Professor Spurrier said the state yesterday had very high testing rates, with more than 5,400 tests conducted.

“Part of that is because we require testing from anybody allowed to come back from New South Wales. We still have returning residents and those who are relocating,” she said.

Assistant Police Commissioner Linda Williams said police were reopening checkpoints around the state to monitor incoming traffic.

“We’ve determined to increase our border checkpoints, particularly at the south-east — we’re increasing and opening up six border checkpoints,” she said.

“We’ll open up the border checkpoints at Marla and Marree [in SA’s north] because we know that people will transit through those routes returning to South Australia.”