SA to reinstate buffer zone with Victoria, NSW border relaxation considered

SA to reinstate buffer zone with Victoria, NSW border relaxation considered

South Australia will reimplement a COVID-19 buffer zone along its border with Victoria, and NSW residents may soon be able to come into SA without restrictions. 

As of midnight on Thursday evening a 40-kilometre buffer zone on either side of the border will come back into effect, which Premier Steven Marshall (pictured) says will make things easier for those living in border towns.

"We are extraordinarily grateful for [South Australians] adherence to the tough restrictions that we've had in place, and that has put us in a very good situation," says Marshall, following the latest decision from the state's Transition Committee.

"So as of Friday, school students will be able to return to school in South Australia, and businesses will be able to resume exactly and precisely as the were."

The easing of the state's hard border with Victoria, initially instated on 8 July, will only go ahead if there is no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in the western part of Victoria between today and midnight on Thursday evening.

"The information that's been provided to us by the Victorian authorities has given the Transition Committee the confidence to put that 40 kilometre buffer either side of the border back in place for this coming Friday."

In addition, Marshall says state health authorities are keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 situation in NSW and the ACT, which may mean residents from those jurisdictions could come to SA without a period of self-isolation within a matter of weeks.

"We are not announcing today that that border will be removed, but what we are saying is that we're looking very closely at this," says Marshall.

"If we continue to see very low levels like we've been seeing, it's quite possible that we'll remove that requirement for 14 days of self-isolation within the next two weeks."

In addition, Marshall announced today that the restrictions on household gatherings will be eased from Friday, with homes now able to accommodate 50 people at once, up from a strict 10 person limit.

Finally, SA will now allow travellers from jurisdictions the state has an open border relationship with to transit through airports in NSW and Canberra without having to do 14 days of isolation.

These states include Tasmania, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

South Australia did not record any new cases of COVID-19 today, but it's eastern neighbour Victoria confirmed 148 new infections of the coronavirus this morning and eight new deaths.

There were no new cases in Queensland, the Northern Territory or the ACT, but there were three new cases of COVID-19 in NSW.

Updated at 2:05pm AEST on 25 August 2020.

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