South Australia has extended its buffer zone with Victoria, easing COVID-19 restrictions on border communities.
The zone has increased from 40 kilometres to 70 kilometres on each side of the border, allowing more people to travel into SA or return from trips into Victoria without need to quarantine.
People travelling from states other than Victoria, who transition through Mildura, are also allowed to come into the state without being forced into isolation.
Travellers are being checked at the border to ensure they are not from Victoria or Mildura locals and must not have stopped in the regional town.
The two changes came into effect from Oct. 8 after being approved at Tuesday’s meeting of the state’s transition committee.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the change would give regional communities the chance to once again access services in SA that they had used in the past.
“But it also means that South Australians who have ties or obligations within Victoria have the ability to go in and undertake their business,” he said.
“It was a balanced decision that provided opportunity for those people who needed it most yet still protected South Australians from the increased risk from COVID-19.”
SA is also looking at easing requirements on close border communities from weekly fortnightly tests for coronavirus but no decision has yet been made.
Looking further ahead, the state’s hard border closure with Victoria is likely to be replaced with a requirement to quarantine.
Depending on the timing, that could be supervised isolation in hotels or home quarantine with Stevens suggesting the likely large volume of travellers could rule out the option of using hotels.
By Tim Dornin