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Changes for interstate arrivals to South Australia to stop Omicron variant, five more COVID-19 cases recorded


Changes to testing rules for interstate arrivals have been introduced in South Australia to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, as the state recorded three more locally acquired COVID-19 cases.

People travelling to the state from New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT will now need to have a PCR test on arrival and isolate until a negative result is received.

Travellers will also be required, if they’re staying in South Australia, to have a further test on day six.

South Australia will not close its border to NSW, Victoria and ACT but has introduced new testing rules. (Nine)

These “speed bumps” will come into effect immediately.

“There will not be any immediate change to our state borders in South Australia but we remain extraordinarily concerned about the Omicron threat,” Premier Steven Marshall said.

International arrivals will also now need to quarantine for 14 days instead of seven days.

South Australia recorded five more COVID-19 cases on Saturday, three of which were locally acquired. The remaining two were interstate travellers.

The three community infections are all close contacts of previous cases.

Mr Marshall did not rule out future border closures, and said authorities are not going to “take any option off the table”.

“If we have to close the border, I emphasise we will do.”

Mr Marshall added the Omicron variant is a “game changer” for the state.

“But the game-changer for us in South Australia now is the Omicron and we need to make sure we handle this in a prudent and considered way to keep our state safe going forward,” he said.

The ACT has also recorded its first Omicron case.

South Australia recorded four new COVID-19 cases yesterday, including a mystery case.

Of the other new cases, two are interstate travellers, while the other attended the school reunion linked to the Norwood cluster, which now stands at 19 cases.
South Australia has introduced new testing rules for interstate arrivals from NSW, Victoria and the ACT.
South Australia has introduced new testing rules for interstate arrivals from NSW, Victoria and the ACT. (9News)

Professor Sanjaya Senayake warned earlier this morning against states slamming borders shut to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.

He said there’s no reason for states to close borders because Australia’s high vaccination rates are so high.

“There is no reason necessarily in our highly vaccinated population to close the borders, but of course as you know, that is somewhat arbitrary and states and territories do their own things sometimes,” Professor Senayake said.

Professor Senayake added border closures should depend on the behaviour of the variant but currently little is known about the spread and transmission of Omicron.

“It will depend on the behaviour of this virus, as we learn more about it, as we examine cases and clusters in the African continent and around the world,” he said.

Professor Senayake said Omicron could overtake Delta to become the dominant strain.
Professor Senayake said Omicron could overtake Delta to become the dominant strain. (9News)

The Omicron variant could soon become the dominant strain worldwide, Professor Senayake said.

“If you look at what is happening in South Africa it has overtaken Delta, which we all have thought and have known to be a pretty infectious strain,” he said.

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“I can say for certain, but it is very likely if what we are seeing in South Africa is happening in the rest of the world is very likely and not surprising as the virus evolves.”



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