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Adelaide shuts to international arrivals

Adelaide is facing a second-wave of Covid-19.

There was chaos in Australia today as Adelaide Airport shut to international arrivals and states closed their borders to South Australia.

Adelaide has recorded a cluster of local Covid-19 infections after a hotel worker tested positive last week. According to public health chiefs in the state, a further 19 infections have all stemmed from the worker, a hotel cleaner, who was looking after repatriated overseas residents in one of the city’s medi-hotels. Before being diagnosed with coronavirus, the worker went on to infect 15 family members, the state’s first community transmissions in more than six months.

It is understood that the cleaner had no direct contact with any expatriates quarantining at the hotel and may have caught the virus from an object.

International flights are now being diverted away from Adelaide for at least the next week, a move which further reduces the options of Australians attempting to repatriate.

Overseas residents have faced an ongoing battle after the Australian government imposed caps on the numbers of arrivals into each state earlier this year. The country is currently operating a mandatory two-week quarantine policy for all arrivals from overseas and the caps were intended to regulate the numbers of arrivals to avoid quarantine hotels from running out of capacity. Melbourne airport also remains closed following Victoria's recent lockdown.

Within 24 hours of the outbreak, the states of Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territories all closed their borders to South Australia, while Queensland is now closed to metropolitan Adelaide. New South Wales (NSW) says it is monitoring the situation closely and Victoria has labelled South Australia a “hot spot” and imposed tougher restrictions, including interviewing people trying to cross the border.

Travellers about to board a flight to Brisbane from Adelaide airport on Sunday November 15 were told they could disembark or face 14 days of self-isolation on arrival in Queensland. Many decided to stay in Adelaide.

Australians arriving in the Northern Territories from South Australia will be required to quarantine in a supervised facility for two weeks on arrival and Tasmania has also imposed a mandatory quarantine. Western Australia imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on South Australia arrivals from Sunday November 15.

“The situation is South Australia is very concerning,” said NSW state premier Gladys Berekiklian. “Our position in New South Wales is: we need to live with Covid and every time there’s an outbreak, you can’t shut down borders, disrupt lives, disrupt businesses.”

South Australia premier Steven Marshall has introduced social distancing rules and restrictions in restaurants, cafes and gyms.

There are currently 34 active cases in South Australia, including overseas arrivals.


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