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Aus state reveals Covid quarantine overhaul

 
Canberra, Nov 15 (IANS) The state government of South Australia (SA) on Monday announced major changes to isolation requirements for contacts of Covid-19 cases ahead of border reopening.

SA Premier Steven Marshall announced that from November 23, fully vaccinated South Australians who are deemed a close contact of a coronavirus case will only have to quarantine for seven days, reports Xinhua news agency.

Fully vaccinated casual contacts will only be required to self-isolate until they test negative for Covid-19.

Currently anyone deemed a contact of a positive case in SA must quarantine for 14 days regardless of their vaccination status.

"We will be very, very significantly reducing the test, trace, isolate and quarantine requirements," Marshall told reporters.

"In the past, we've had to take a pretty heavy-handed approach, quite frankly, because a single case could set off a cluster which would lock down our state."

The change will coincide with SA opening its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New South Wales and Victoria when it is expected to reach 80 per cent of over-16s fully vaccinated on November 23.

It will mark the first time since August that travellers from those regions, which were under Covid-19 lockdowns in the past months and account for more than half the Australian population, will be allowed into SA without quarantining for 14 days.

"We are going to do it in a careful and considered way. In the first instance we are only going to have those people who are fully vaccinated able to come into South Australia," Marshall said.

"We know this is going to be a huge relief for families, for businesses, those state borders have been extraordinarily punishing."

On Monday morning, Australia reported 1,035 new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases, all of which were in the ACT, NSW and Victoria with six deaths, as the country continues to battle the third wave of COVID-19 infections.

As of Monday, 90.5 percent of Australians aged 16 and older had received one vaccine dose and 83.2 per cent were fully inoculated, according to the latest data released by the Department of Health.

--IANS
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