Premier Steven Marshall says the border will close to Sydney from midnight on Sunday and checkpoints will be set up to test people for COVID-19 at the NSW road border crossings and at Adelaide Airport.
All people from greater Sydney will have to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in SA, while all northern beaches residents will be turned away.
“We know this is going to significantly affect Christmas travel plans, so we don’t take these decisions lightly, but in this instance, we believe that this is the best way that we can protect South Australia from any seeding into our state,” Marshall told reporters on Sunday.
Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said residents of regional NSW will still be able to visit South Australia without going into quarantine.
She said any SA residents currently visiting or returning from the Sydney region must undergo self-quarantine at their homes.
“Unfortunately it will mean that the family will not be able to get together at Christmas, because we cannot take that risk,” Spurrier said.
“It is hopefully some relief though for people from South Australia who happen to be in NSW at the moment so they will be able to come home, but obviously it’s going to be very disruptive for many people with their Christmas plans.”
The chief health officer said while there’s increasing concern about the NSW outbreak, contact-tracers in that state are “absolutely gold-standard.”
With 30 more virus cases reported on Sunday, the Sydney outbreak has grown to 70 confirmed infections.
SA is now less than a week away from declaring its recent Parafield cluster officially over with Spurrier saying that the hotel quarantine system has also been tightened ahead of a new group of international arrivals this week.
“There’s always a risk when you have this nasty virus in your state, but I truly believe that we have gone above and beyond to make this as safe as possible for South Australia because I can tell you, I personally do not want to go through another Parafield cluster,” she said.
Authorities consider two incubation cycles, or 28 days, the necessary timeframe before an outbreak is declared eliminated.
By Marty Silk