Adelaide now faces the long and arduous task of being lumped with similar travel restrictions imposed on New South Wales after a coronavirus cluster was revealed on Sunday.
Queensland‘s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young confirmed the South Australian capital would need 28 days of no local cases to lose its hotspot classification.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk imposed travel restrictions on those entering from the SA capital from midnight on Monday.
They will be forced to enter hotel quarantine while those who arrived from last Monday until midnight tonight will need to self-isolate while they await a test result.
The Sunshine State joins Western Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania to restrict access from South Australia following the outbreak in the city’s northern suburbs, while Victoria also declared Adelaide as a virus hotspot.
WA Premier Mark McGowan was the first to pull the trigger on Sunday night, announcing those who entered from SA will be required to go into 14-day quarantine and leaving travellers stranded at the airport.
The cluster in Adelaide has been linked to a prison and potentially health care workers, which was of concern to Dr Young.
“It‘s a very rapid increase in cases from four to 17. And some of those cases, I understand, have been in complex situations,” she told reporters on Monday.
“We need to get more information about where the risks are. But that‘s the situation that’s happening now, so it’s really important that people who are currently in Adelaide know that if they’re coming into Queensland, that they’ll be going into quarantine for 14 days.
The Sunshine State remains closed to greater Sydney residents and Victoria but this was expected to be eased ahead of Christmas following a commitment from state leaders at Friday’s National Cabinet meeting.
This path has been thrown off course by the outbreak in South Australia.
The NSW Premier said she would not introduce travel restrictions with South Australia.
Gladys Berejiklian has regularly expressed frustration at Queensland’s policy to lockout hotspot zones until they can successfully clock 28 days of no locally acquired infections.
“What we need to do is determine what is the best policy setting for New South Wales and for Australia and I want New South Wales to lead by example,” she said.
“I want us to have faith, not just in our own health system, but the contact tracing of others. We need to acknowledge that we need to live with the pandemic.
“You can‘t open-and-shut borders and change things overnight every time there is an outbreak. I say that based on the health advice.”
South Australia recorded its first community transmitted coronavirus cases since April after four infections were reported on Sunday, which were likely traced to a hotel quarantine facility in the city.
The source of the new infections are not known with health authorities fearing hundreds of people in the city’s northern suburbs could have been exposed to the deadly virus.
A woman in her 80s was diagnosed at Adelaide’s Lyell McEwin Hospital emergency department on Saturday after visiting on Friday night, leading to 90 staff and patients being ordered to quarantine.
Two of the woman’s family members, a female in her 50s and a man in his 60s, have tested positive for the deadly virus.
By Monday, about two dozens cases were linked to the cluster as residents in the city’s north scrambled to get tested.
The state’s chief health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier described the new cases as “very troubling”, revealing the woman had visited a suburban shopping centre, Parafield Plaza Supermarket.
She said the cluster is the worst outbreak in South Australia yet, fearing multiple public venues may have been visited by family members yet to be confirmed as infected patients.
“I am expecting we will have more cases, which is why I am absolutely warning South Australians: this is a wake-up call — if you have respiratory symptoms, you‘ve got to get tested,” she said.