South Australia will ease its border restrictions for double-vaccinated people from November 23.

Key points:

  • Double-vaccinated domestic travellers will be able to head into SA without quarantining
  • International arrivals will have the current quarantine duration halved
  • Further repeals will require 90 per cent of the population, aged 12 and over, to have been fully vaccinated

That date will also see the state halve its quarantine period for international travellers from 14 days to seven, and increase its cap on home gatherings from 20 people to 30.

The measures are part of the state’s much anticipated COVID-Ready roadmap.

Health authorities expect that 80 per cent of the state’s population aged 16 and over will have received a second vaccination dose by November 23 or very shortly afterwards.

Premier Steven Marshall said the “vast majority” of other restrictions in SA would ease once 90 per cent of people over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated.

He said quarantine for double-vaccinated international travellers would be removed entirely once that milestone is reached, which is expected before Christmas.

“South Australians have worked extraordinarily hard over the last 19 months. They’ve stood shoulder to shoulder together,” Mr Marshall said.

“From November the 23rd we will be removing our border restrictions, for those people who are double-vaccinated, to come into South Australia.”

People lined up to get vaccinated at the Playford Civic Centre during a blitz over the weekend.(ABC News)

According to the state’s COVID-Ready plan, masks will still be mandatory in indoor public settings after that date.

But that requirement will be eased once the 90 per cent target is reached, with mandatory mask-wearing to continue only in “high-risk settings” such as hospitals and aged care facilities.

“We’re still getting some final information in terms of modelling,” Mr Marshall said.

“Some restrictions will need to remain in place and we certainly will need to have them in place for some COVID management events.

“But we intend to remove most of those restrictions once we get to 90 per cent double-vaccinated, 12 and over, which I’m hopeful that we will achieve before Christmas.”

‘We cannot keep COVID out’

Despite the border relaxation, Mr Marshall said there was a catch — with travellers from local government areas with community transmission and low vaccination rates still required to quarantine.

“Below 80 per cent there will need to be quarantine. But I expect that all the LGAs by the 23rd of November would be above that 80 per cent.

“I think all of the areas within the ACT are already above the 80 per cent. The vast majority in Victoria and New South Wales already are.”

SA will repeal a significant portion of its remaining border restrictions on November 23.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

Mr Marshall said the relaxation would “definitely” result in new cases, but the state had the capacity to manage them.

“We cannot keep COVID out of South Australia. What we want to do is be as ready as possible,” he said.

“If we’re truthful about it, there have been dozens of cases in South Australia over the last couple of months.

“They haven’t led to widespread community transmission and that’s because of the great work of all South Australians.

The likely number of coronavirus deaths once the state reopens remains unclear.

When asked how many COVID-19 cases South Australia could expect, SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier would not provide a figure.

It has previously been estimated that the number of concurrent cases could hit 4,000 — more than four times the state’s total caseload since the start of the pandemic.

But Professor Spurrier said that prediction was only “trying to give us an estimate”.

Professor Spurrier said it could be “a bit of a scary time” when SA opens its borders.(ABC News)

Asked whether the anticipated caseload was higher or lower than the 4,000 figure, Professor Spurrier said she was “not going to answer that question”.

“We have more detailed Doherty [Institute] modelling now … what it’s done is put in South Australian data, our demographic data,” she said.

“I will be very happy to release that publicly when it’s the right time.”

‘You still have time’ to get vaccinated, health chief says

Professor Spurrier said she understood the likelihood of incoming coronavirus cases would cause anxiety for some and urged those who had not yet been vaccinated to get jabbed.

“It gives us four weeks from today, so if you haven’t got vaccinated, you still have time. If you go and get your Pfizer this week, you still have three weeks to get your second dose.

“If you go and get your Moderna today, you’ll have your second dose in four weeks, and so that will be the date that we will open the borders.”

Health authorities expect to hit the 80 per cent target either by November 23 or very soon afterwards.(ABC News)

App to send out symptom checker 

Professor Spurrier said health authorities would still require incoming travellers to submit to symptom checks, using the Home Quarantine SA app.

“For those people coming from LGAs where there is 90 per cent of their population vaccinated — they will have to do a daily symptom check using that app, and it will also allow them to understand how we use the QR check-in in South Australia.

The home quarantine app will be used to send out a daily symptom check reminder.(Supplied)

“[People from] LGAs with a population vaccination rate of between 80 and 90 per cent fully vaccinated … will use the same app to do a daily symptom check, but in addition, we’ll have them doing one test and isolate until we get that result.

“Like Tasmania and Queensland, we will also require a negative test within the three days before coming to our state.”

QR check-ins to stay

Social distancing measures and contact tracing will remain aspects of daily life.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said QR code check-ins would continue to play an important role in keeping South Australians COVID-safe.

As of November 1, NSW will allow fully vaccinated international arrivals to enter without quarantining.

The commissioner said how the state would manage international arrivals who had transited through Sydney was still being worked through.

“I don’t actually have the answer for you in terms of what they will be required to do when they arrive in South Australia, but the commitment at the moment is seven days quarantine for international arrivals,” Mr Stevens said.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital will remain the main COVID-19 treatment facility.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Do we really need booster vaccines for COVID-19?

Loading form…

Posted , updated