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South Aust hopeful of leaving borders open

South Australian authorities remain “cautiously optimistic” the state’s borders can remain open despite ongoing concern with the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens says.

The state’s transition committee met on Tuesday and Mr Stevens says it is still waiting on more information related to the impact of the new strain.

But he said it was hoped the state’s current measures could remain in place, which generally allow all fully-vaccinated travellers from other states and territories into SA, with some requirements for testing before departure and on arrival.

“It’s fair to say that we are cautiously optimistic that the current settings we have in place are sufficient,” Mr Stevens told reporters.

“But we do need to ensure people are aware of the fact that this is a new variant and we don’t know really what it means.

“We are watching it closely but we are trying to maintain some consistency in our approach as well.”

SA is yet to confirm a case of the Omicron variant, but reported four new Delta cases on Tuesday.

Two were linked to the so-called Norwood cluster, taking it to 27, with the other two detected in interstate travellers.

SA has 49 active infections, mostly being managed in hotel quarantine.

Two people, a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s, have been admitted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital but both are in a stable condition.

Mr Stevens said if there was a need to make changes to SA’s restrictions, it was hoped the public could be given as much notice as possible.

He said the situation remained dynamic and the state had to be adaptable to any changing circumstances.

“Our primary obligation is to ensure the safety of the South Australian community,” he said.

“A big part of that is ensuring our health care system is capable of managing people who require medical assistance, whether it be for COVID-19 or any other sickness or injury.”

In response to Omicron, SA has moved to require people coming from NSW, Victoria and the ACT to have a test on arrival as well as a negative test before travelling.

Quarantine requirements for people arriving from overseas have increased from seven to 14 days.

On Tuesday, SA Health also imposed restrictions on hospital visitors requiring them to be fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated visitors will still be allowed but will be required to wear personal protective equipment and get COVID-19 tested after each visit.

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