South Australia has been quickly cut-off from the rest of the nation after a COVID-19 cluster of 18 cases has emerged following a hotel quarantine breach.
Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have each closed their borders to travelers from South Australia, whereas Victoria has declared South Australia a coronavirus ‘hot spot’, even though it has not yet closed its border.
The border bans have already hit South Australian travelers hard.
Passengers on a Sunday flight from Adelaide to Perth were shocked to be told they had to go into two weeks’ quarantine on arrival, despite the West Australian government only hours earlier assuring South Australians they could enter the state without having to isolate.
The Queensland Government has also ordered South Australians that entered the state over the previous seven days to self-isolate while they await a test result.
Queensland‘s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, has confirmed that Adelaide would need 28 days of no local cases to lose its hotspot classification.
Meanwhile, the South Australian Government has announced new COVID-19 restrictions in response to the outbreak. This includes the closure of gyms, new limits on the number of patrons at hospitality venues and a cap on visitors to people’s homes. Several schools and retail outlets have been closed for deep cleaning, and all inbound international flights to Adelaide have been suspended.
There are strong parallels here to Victoria’s outbreak in June, which was also caused by failed hotel quarantine.
Let’s hope South Australia’s contact tracing is up to par and the outbreak is quickly gotten under control.
Otherwise, South Australians will face a bleak Christmas and may suffer a similar prolonged shutdown and isolation to what occurred in Melbourne over the winter and early spring.
As a Melburnian, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.