SOUTH AUSTRALIA, Australia – South Australia opens its borders back up for New South Wales residents as the region records another day with zero community transmissions. Meanwhile, Queensland marks its fourteenth day of no new COVID-19 cases.
After six months of closed borders to NSW, SA is finally opening its borders again for the region’s residents starting today. NSW had recorded its second day of no new cases from community transmissions yesterday. This record is the first time NSW recorded consecutive days of zero local cases since July.
There were six new cases recorded, but all of them were returnees from overseas travels and were put to hotel quarantine. NSW has been performing the maximum number of tests, recording a total of 16,000 people who were tested just in the last 24 hours.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters that the latest numbers are good results, but it is still not a reason for complacency. There still might be possibilities that the virus is still circulating in many areas of NSW. Hence, the need for more proactive testing, even for those with the mildest symptoms.
Starting today, the SA borders to NSW is already open. Travellers from NSW to SA will no longer be required to undergo 14 days of self-isolation. However, documentation requirements should still be implemented. Travellers will have to fill out a pre-approval form online to state that they have never gone outside the region’s “safe community transmission zone” within 14 days before their SA entry.
With these newly relaxed restrictions on the NSW borders, only Victoria will remain subject to SA’s COVID-19 border restrictions.
Yesterday, SA recorded two new COVID-19 cases in the area. These are the first cases the state has recorded in 12 days, just hours before its reopening. The two new cases are returned travellers who are now in hotel quarantine. However, Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier assured the public that these two new records pose no threats to the state, thus no reasons to worry. The state’s COVID-19 cases now reached 468, but no new local transmissions have been recorded in weeks.
The improved number of local cases led the state to ease COVID-19 restrictions in its borders. Aside from opening its borders to NSW, Premier Steven Marshall also announced last week that it would increase the international arrivals in the states. As the state also improves its hotel quarantine capacity, it will also take up to 800 arrivals per week, with 60 being repatriated citizens.
Marshall declared that the eased border restrictions would provide relief to both residents and businesses in the states.
To start the boost up of travels within these states, many local businesses and other companies have also started preparations to open. Jetstar, for example, gives slashed prices on flights between Adelaide and Sydney. The airline launched a 36-hour flash sale, ending at midnight today, on flights with at least 5,000 cheap seats. The airline also already set an increase in its flights in this route starting October. The number of flights is set to double from only five times a week before the reopening of borders.
Meanwhile, Queensland is also performing in maintaining zero new local transmissions. On Wednesday, Deputy Premier Steven Miles announced that the state is now down to only five COVID-19 cases from 16 recorded Tuesday. If the state records another no new cases today, it will already be Queensland’s 14th consecutive day with zero cases. In total, the state has already recorded 1,153 confirmed cases from at least 1,077,563 tests that have been conducted. Of this number, only five cases now remain active.
The Deputy Premier was also happy to announce that Queensland’s longest COVID-19 patient has already recovered. From 77 days in intensive care, the patient has now been moved to a rehabilitation space.
According to the World Health Organization’s data, Australia is among the few pandemic-struck countries with the best COVID-19 response. The government has legislated and executed various programs to control the spread of the pandemic and provide support to heavily impacted households and industries.
One of the government’s latest movements concerning its commitment to combat the COVID-19 various is its strengthened partnership with the global COVAX facility. Australia has contributed more money to this global initiative that holds a range of vaccine manufacturers and candidates worldwide. This move will allow Australia to have greater access to any cure or vaccine discovered under the initiative.
It was reported that the Federal Government of Australia has also already partnered with CSL for the developing University of Queensland vaccine and AstraZeneca for a potential vaccine in the Oxford University.
The government has declared its plan to acquire vaccines under the two-dose requirement for at least half the country’s population.
As a global commitment, COVAX ensures that any vaccine or cure developed will be shared with worldwide candidates. Australia has already committed its second investment to this project, after its donation in August amounting to 80 million dollars.
Health Minister Greg Hunt that this investment will give the country more access to greater supplies and help other neighbouring countries. He said that the move would also benefit other countries located in the Pacific and South-East Asia, helping them get access to potential COVID-19 cure.
All presented vaccines in the COVAX facility will have to undergo safety and quality standards assessment under the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Furthermore, Australia is only one of the 80 countries that participated in the commitment. Another 92 lower-income countries will be given support to access potential vaccines.