There Have Been No New Coronavirus Cases In South Australia For Two Weeks
South Australia has achieved what has seemed like the impossible since the pandemic started, officially recording two straight weeks without a single new case of coronavirus.
Premier Steven Marshall made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the state had "reached a new milestone".
"No new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded for two whole weeks," Marshall said on Twitter.
"Let’s not undo the good. Keep up the great work."
On Wednesday, only two active cases remained in the state, while 432 other people who had contracted the disease have since been cleared. Another two patients remain in hospital recovering from the illness, but are no longer considered infectious.
South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Dr Nicola Spurrier said it was "an exciting day" and put the state in a good position to begin the process of lifting some restrictions.
She added it was likely more cases will pop up in South Australia in the weeks and months to come but is confident health authorities can swiftly shut down any new clusters.
"It would be very nice to be able to say we haven't got any more active cases but I think we do need to be realistic," Spurrier said.
"I think to say we are free of COVID-19 is probably not the right way to look at it. There's still Covid-19 in the rest of the world and there's still cases in Australia."
'Steady Adjustment Of Restrictions'
The state has slowly started to lift COVID-19 restrictions in recent days, last week reopening playgrounds and skate parks.
Restrictions on funeral attendance and travel to regional areas are expected to be the first major restrictions lifted in SA from next week.
But Spurrier said any lifting of restrictions would be done via a step-by-step process.
"What we are going to do in South Australia is have a steady adjustment of those restrictions and we are going to leave enough time in between to see if there are any negative repercussions," she told reporters.
"The things we will be starting with are the things that have a significant social impact on people, but we are very well aware of the impact of the difficult economy on people's lives and wellbeing."
Borders To Remain Closed For Some Time
It will also be some time before border restrictions are lifted, due to the risk of new cases coming in from interstate.
Spurrier said while SA's borders are considered "closed", people are allowed to enter provided they self-quarantine for two weeks.
"The thing about the borders is, they are rather leaky," she said.
"We haven't closed our borders in a hard way.
"We felt it was better and more practical to allow people to come in if they needed to, but we've done it through a quarantine process."
Any movement on border restrictions would also take into account the number of COVID-19 cases in other states.
Plane Carrying Fresh SA Produce Heads For Singapore
Some focus has also begun turning to restoring the local economy.
Earlier on Wednesday, more than 40 tonnes of fresh South Australian produce was loaded onto a Singapore Air flight bound for Asia.
Marshall said it was a "huge milestone" for exporters to re-establish a major freight route.
"It will secure South Australian jobs and bring export dollars back in South Australia," he said.
Western Australia Marks One Week Without New Cases
A road map for easing COVID-19 restrictions in Western Australia could be released this weekend, but the premier has ruled out travel exemptions for the AFL, as the state marked one week of no new cases.
Only 14 active cases remain in WA, including seven patients in hospital, while 528 people have recovered.
Premier Mark McGowan described the results as "amazing, incredible and terrific", and said his government's plan to ease restrictions would be released as early as the weekend following a national cabinet meeting on Friday.
While the state government was focused on loosening restrictions that would boost the economy and keep people safe, the hard border closure would remain in place for now, he said.
"While WA has responded very strongly to the COVID-19 threat, we're not out of the woods yet," McGowan told reporters on Wednesday.