Just when we thought we might be able to move around the country freely by Christmas, a coronavirus cluster in South Australia has reared its ugly head, prompting the NT, Tassie and WA to promptly shut its borders to anyone coming in from the state from today (Monday).
The cluster, which started out as just three cases, has grown to 17 cases by Monday morning. SA Premier Steven Marshall said the state was "very concerned" and that hundreds of people connected with the cases had gone into isolation, reports the ABC. The premier also reintroduced a series of restrictions across the state, which include no more than 10 visitors to a household; the closing of gyms and recreation centres; and a limit of the number of people at pubs. (More info on those restrictions here).
As for borders, WA was the first to act, with its premier Mark McGowan announcing that anyone entering from South Australia would either need to fly back to SA or face a mandatory quarantine for 14 days when they got there. The NT and Tassie were next, with the NT waiving the $2500 hotel quarantine fee due to them implementing it at such short notice and Tassie allowing people to self-isolate at their own residence. Tassie's Premier Peter Gutwein urged anyone coming from SA from as early as November 8 to self-isolate for 14 days.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was keeping tabs on the situation, but that nothing had changed as of yet, while Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said they were in the process of deciding what to do and that "more details will be announced shortly".Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt called the outbreak a "matter of concern", adding that the govt would help SA out with any help it needed. "We're confident that South Australia has outstanding testing, contact tracing and isolation capability," he said in a presser. "But these are exactly the types of incidents for which Australia has been preparing for."
In other COVID news, Victoria recorded its 17th day of no new coronavirus cases, and hinted at some restrictions easing, which we have some thoughts about. As of Sunday, November 15, Australia had 14 new cases in the past 24 hours.
If your head is a little scrambled, make sure you pop over to WHO.int to get all of your official COVID-19 updates.
Written by Sangeeta Kocharekar, an American-born, Sydney-based writer at MTV. Photos from her pre-COVID-19 days as a travel writer are here.