'We Have No Choice': South Australia Closes Its Borders To Stem Coronavirus Spread
South Australia has become the latest state to close its borders as cases of the deadly coronavirus in Australia continue to surge.
Premier Steven Marshall announced the borders will shut at 4pm on Tuesday after the state announced its biggest spike in coronavirus cases.
The State Government has also declared the situation a 'major emergency'.
Anyone entering or returning to the state will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days.
"We believe this will massively switch off, overnight, immediately, the number of people who are coming into South Australia from interstate, this will massively reduce the risk and it will slow the spread of this disease," Premier Marshall said on Sunday.
"I know that this is going to be hugely restrictive on many businesses and individuals, and so we do not make this decision lightly, but we have no choice."
12 stations along the state border will be manned 24/7 by police and the Department of Transport and Infrastructure, and anyone entering will be forced to sign a declaration assuring the state they will adhere to self-isolation regulations.
Police will also be stationed at airports and railway stations to enforce the new rules to incoming residents or visitors.
There are no current fines or prosecution options for those who fail to self-isolate, but the state government will consider implementing them if necessary.
In addition to closing the borders, The Premier pleaded with all South Australians to practice self-distancing.
“I can’t be any clearer about this. You have a social responsibility for social distancing. It will save lives. Take this disease seriously," he said.
Closing the border will not impact essential services, including the supply of food.
While there is currently no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in South Australia, SA Health believes it's only a matter of time.
The move brings SA in line with the Northern Territory and Tasmania, who both closed their own borders this past week.
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Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced the closure of the NT's borders on Saturday, forcing anyone who enters the region to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
The new requirements will come into force from Tuesday afternoon and will apply to entrance by road, rail, air, and sea.
Exemptions will apply to health and emergency services, defence and policing, flight crews and freight, though all arrivals will have to show they meet the essential services criteria.
Exemptions may also be granted on compassionate grounds.
Tasmania announced even more drastic measures on Thursday, which will force all entrants to self-quarantine for 14 days unless they meet the requirements of essential travel.
If a person fails to comply, they could be fined up to $16,800 or face six months in jail.