South Australia Becomes Latest State to Close Borders

March 21, 2020 Updated: March 21, 2020

South Australian premier Steven Marshall has announced measures that effectively close the state’s borders to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Premier Steven Marshall announced on Sunday that anyone entering the state would be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation period.

The new measures will take effect from 4pm on Tuesday and will not affect the state’s essential services, including the supply of food.

“The health of South Australians is unquestionably our number one priority and that is why we are acting swiftly and decisively to protect them from the impact of this disease,” he said.

“We do not make this decision lightly but we have no choice”.

South Australia’s borders will be monitored 24 hours a day and anyone entering the state will be forced to sign a declaration agreeing to self-isolate.

State authorities moved to declare a “major emergency” on Sunday, triggering the shutdown.

But Police Commissioner Grant Stevens admitted authorities were limited in their ability to enforce the isolation orders.

SA Police have been checking on those who have already been ordered to self-isolate after disembarking international flights.

He said authorities were “relying on people’s community and sense of goodwill to do the right thing”, and that overwhelmingly people had been complying with orders.

Mr Stevens said police had not issued any fines or initiated prosecutions against people caught breaching their obligations.

“We can’t check every person, we are relying on people to do the right thing,” he told reporters.

“Every single person we’ve spoken to during our random checks is complying with the obligation to self isolate.”

South Australia’s announcement comes after similar restrictions were put in place in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The isolation requirements will not apply to health personnel and patients or emergency services.

By Kathryn Bermingham