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Covid-19 SA: Families, friends reunite as borders open to rest of Australia after 153 days locked out

The airport was filled with emotion as families and friends began reuniting on the first day of the border opening to the rest of the country.

Families and friends who were dislocated for more than 100 days have begun to reunite as South Australia opens its borders to every Australian jurisdiction.

Adelaide Airport was filled with tears of joy on Tuesday morning after the border restrictions eased dramatically at 12.01am.

It’s been 153 days since residents from NSW and Victoria have been permitted to enter.

Under the newly eased restrictions, only fully vaccinated people who returned a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to their arrival are allowed in.

Those travellers must also come from a local government area that has a minimum vaccination rate of 80 per cent and don’t need to isolate.

Unvaccinated people will need to apply for a travel exemption through SA Health to enter the state.

Premier Steven Marshall on Monday apologised for the EntryCheck SA portal momentarily crashing ahead of the reopening. It was fixed later that day.

There are about 30,000 people who have so far been approved to enter SA now that the borders have opened.

Borders have reopened despite only 77.4 per cent of eligible residents being fully vaccinated, while more than 87 per cent have had at least one dose.

The November 23 date was set because authorities anticipated its 80 per cent target would be achieved by then.

Mr Marshall said it was an “exciting” day as people reunited.

“It’s going to be like a scene from Love Actually,” he told ABC Radio.

“People have been dislocated for a long time. It was a necessary lockout with states of high levels of community transmission.

“But the transmission potential has massively reduced with our level of vaccination … so I think we’re doing this in a safe way.”

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said border checkpoint operations would scale back over the next 14 days.

He said with all the planning that had been done by authorities, he hoped Christmas would go ahead as planned and there wouldn’t be areas locked down.

“The management of Covid-19 into SA is so we don’t see a rush on those health services and Christmas will be as we hope it will be — an opportunity to share with families and friends at home without too many restrictions,” Mr Stevens said on Tuesday.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said people who weren’t vaccinated posed a higher risk to the community than those double dosed because they had a higher chance of spreading the virus to others.

“If you do get infected and you’re vaccinated, you don’t produce as much virus and the chance of you passing it on is much lower (than if you’re not vaccinated),” she said.

“You’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting all of us.”

Read related topics:Adelaide


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