Vic­to­ri­ans to re­main shut out


PRE­MIER Steven Mar­shall has urged other safe states to con­tinue open­ing their bor­ders, af­ter dump­ing his plans to lift re­stric­tions on trav­ellers from virus-hit Vic­to­ria.

Mr Mar­shall has junked the ear­marked July 20 date for end­ing quar­an­tine re­quire­ments for peo­ple com­ing from Vic­to­ria, say­ing wors­en­ing out­breaks make this un­safe.

But im­prov­ing con­di­tions in NSW and ACT could have those bor­ders open sooner.

Mr Mar­shall also said he had spo­ken to AFL chief ex­ec­u­tive Gil­lon McLach­lan about of­fer­ing help to keep the sea­son alive.

There is now no time­line for re­open­ing the bor­der as Vic­to­rian au­thor­i­ties strug­gle to get on top of the disease, with 64 new cases recorded on Tues­day – tak­ing their over­all tally to 233 since last Thurs­day.

In ad­di­tion to a crack team of SA con­tact-trac­ers al­ready sent to help the Vic­to­rian effort over a week ago, an­other team of lo­cal nurses is be­ing dis­patched today.

Up to 30 nurses will go to Vic­to­ria on a ro­ta­tional ba­sis, work­ing for a min­i­mum of one week, and then re­quired to spend 14 days in quar­an­tine on re­turn to SA.

About 12 paramedics also will go, join­ing the 20 con­tact-trac­ing ex­perts .

Mr Mar­shall said on Tues­day night that it was im­por­tant to sup­port jobs, the econ­omy and trade by open­ing bor­ders as soon as COVID-19 out­breaks were brought un­der con­trol.

“The ACT and NSW con­tinue to do ex­traor­di­nar­ily well, es­pe­cially given the num­ber of Aus­tralian cit­i­zens re­turn­ing into Syd­ney on a daily ba­sis,” Mr Mar­shall said.

“It is pos­si­ble NSW and ACT could be brought for­ward. We are ac­tively look­ing at lift­ing the re­stric­tions. The ear­li­est that could oc­cur would be later this week but we won’t be rushed on this is­sue. We need to be as­sured.”

The Queens­land Gov­ern­ment on Tues­day an­nounced trav­ellers go­ing in from SA and other safe states would no longer have to quar­an­tine from July 10.

That will be­come SA’s first fully open two-way bor­der cross­ing since lock­down be­gan.

SA has also bol­stered polic­ing of the Vic­to­rian bor­der, with 260 of­fi­cers sta­tioned to check on peo­ple en­ter­ing. Greater sur­veil­lance of back­roads is also be­ing con­ducted.

More than 310,000 Mel­bur­ni­ans will be forced back into a strict four-week lock­down from Thurs­day as au­thor­i­ties scramble to slow the ris­ing COVID-19 tally.

Mr Mar­shall said other closed states should fol­low the open­ing trend that be­gan in SA, and said Queens­land’s move would have sig­nif­i­cant so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

“I think this (Queens­land de­ci­sion) will give a great opportunit­y for our state to have fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion, but also busi­ness ac­tiv­ity,” he said.

“Queens­land has a very strong pres­ence in the space sec­tor, one that we are also very strong in.

“There is sim­ply no rea­son for there to be a bor­der be­tween SA, the NT, WA or Tas­ma­nia. I would strongly en­cour­age their lead­ers to fol­low the move.”

Qan­tas is re­sum­ing di­rect flights from Ade­laide to Bris­bane, Perth, Can­berra and Alice Springs from Fri­day,

cut­ting hours from trips via Syd­ney or Mel­bourne.

ABS data re­leased on Tues­day in­di­cates that SA’s com­bi­na­tion of low cases and rel­a­tively rapid re­stric­tion lift­ing may be hav­ing an eco­nomic ef­fect al­ready.

While to­tal earned wages are down across the coun­try since COVID-19 took hold, the drop has been smaller in SA than any state.

In the week to June 13, SA had the big­gest rise in to­tal pay­pack­ets.

The AFL is scram­bling to get its sea­son back on track, and Mr Mar­shall said he was will­ing to help. There is no for­mal pro­posal for an SA hub, but it has also not been ruled out.

“I spoke to (AFL chief ex­ec­u­tive) Gil­lon McLach­lan (on Tues­day) fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion of the tran­si­tion com­mit­tee,” he said.

“We are work­ing to­gether to en­sure that we can have an AFL sea­son this year. We have stressed to the AFL that we will not be com­pro­mis­ing our bor­der se­cu­rity. Foot­ballers from Vic­to­ria com­ing to SA would need to abide by the 14 days self-iso­la­tion that is re­quired of all peo­ple.”

SA has three ac­tive cases, all quar­an­tined af­ter ar­riv­ing from In­dia.

Pic­ture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

An Aus­tralian De­fence Force of­fi­cial helps carry out COVID-19 test­ing at Mel­bourne Show­grounds.

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