Calls for hard closure rise

The State Labor Party is calling for South Australia to follow the lead of other states and implement a hard border closure to protect the state from the spread of COVID-19.

Queensland and Western Australia have both announced hard border closures in recent days, and if South Australia follow-suit, the Tatiara district could see some potential benefits.

A hard border closure would block entry to the state to everyone except for a limited number of exemptions including SA residents, health and emergency service workers, freight and compassionate grounds.

To cross the border, an exempt person would need to acquire a permit once hard border measures were in place. They would require proof of residency, such as a drivers licence.

With school holidays and Easter long weekend fast approaching, implementing such a measure could become particularly important.

A fortnight ago, Labor called for an effective closure of the borders, implementing a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the state.

Labor stated that under a hard border closure, South Australians would still be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Tatiara District Council CEO Anne Champness stated that many Tatiara residents are concerned about interstate travellers visiting the district.

"I know that many community members and business owners are concerned that interstate travellers -beyond our neighbouring towns - are still coming through the Tatiara and visiting our shops and businesses," Ms Champness said.

With many of the district's towns being situated close to the South Australian/Victorian border, discussion has been had about the decision to base the state's border control in Bordertown, 20km west of the border.

"I raised this concern with the State Government and hope that Wednesday's relocation of the border checkpoint closer to the border may help address it to some extent," Ms Champness said.

While unsure of the specifics behind Labor's proposal, Ms Champness said that a hard border closure could provide further comfort to residents that the State Government is doing everything it can to stop the spread.

"Any such closure would need to carefully consider how it would apply to border communities relying on each other for essentials, employment and so on," Ms Champness said.

Labor LeaderPeter Malinauskas stated a press conference on Friday that the state needs to be doing everything they can to protect South Australians and slow the spread of coronavirus.

He mentioned that a hard closure of the border would be another sensible measure.

"We are willing to work with the State Government on any legislative changes required to make this happen," Mr Malinauskas said.

With numerous regions across the state seeing a concerning increase in positive coronavirus cases, the State Government is looking to be on the front-foot when it comes to 'flattening the curve'.

"We are still seeing a concerning level of community transmission in certain parts of Australia and we must ensure we limit this in South Australia," Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Chris Picton said.

Mr Picton urged travellers to do the right thing over the Easter long weekend and stay home, stating now is not the time for any unnecessary travel to South Australia.

South Australia is currently leading the way with testing for COVID-19. As of April 1, SA Pathology has so far tested 26,713 patients, which is 15,250 patients tested per million people in South Australia. Harsher border restrictions could provide SA with greater protection from coronavirus.

This story Calls for hard closure rise first appeared on Border Chronicle.