SA moves to take more Aussies coming home

Chief Minister Andrew Barr says SA's decision is a practical move to
Chief Minister Andrew Barr says SA's decision is a practical move to "decouple" the ACT from NSW.

South Australia is looking to take more travellers returning from overseas after the latest move to ease the state's COVID-19 border restrictions.

SA has advised the Commonwealth that it will increase its hotel quarantine capacity from 500 to 800 in coming weeks.

That will be split across three areas with 600 places for returning travellers, 100 for high-risk domestic arrivals and 100 to isolate locals impacted by any community outbreaks of the coronavirus.

In a statement, the government said taking 600 international arrivals each week would double the current capacity.

"South Australia is pleased to be able to assist with supporting more Australians to return home," the statement said.

"We will continue to look at options to further increase our medi-hotel capacity."

The change comes after SA also lifted its border restrictions with the ACT on Wednesday, providing a boost to Australia's domestic aviation sector.

Travellers who fly into SA from Canberra will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days.

However, the quarantine arrangements will continue for people from NSW amid continuing concern over community transmission of the virus in that state.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said SA's decision was good news and a practical move to "decouple" the ACT from NSW.

"We've been working patiently and diplomatically behind the scenes to get this decision," he said.

"On a national level, it's a significant step towards the restarting of domestic aviation in Australia."

Mr Barr said he expected considerable demand for new flights from Canberra to Adelaide.

People who do make the trip will need to pre-register online and will be asked to sign a declaration that they have not travelled to either NSW or Victoria or any other high-risk place in the previous two weeks.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said a similar decision on border rules with NSW was not possible at this stage.

"We're hopeful that the situation will continue to improve," he said.

But the commissioner said the "level of comfort" South Australian officials had with the situation in the ACT did not yet translate to NSW.

Local officials would like to see a two-week period with no community transmission, depending on the source of any new cases.

South Australia reported no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, leaving the state's total since the start of the pandemic at 466.

There are no active infections.

Australian Associated Press