SA seasonal workers clear virus quarantine

SA seasonal workers clear virus quarantine

More than 800 seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands have completed COVID-19 quarantine and have begun harvesting crops in the state's Riverland.

The 782 men and 22 women from Tonga, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Samoa have been in isolation at a Paringa facility, northeast of Adelaide, with none returning a positive test result for coronavirus.

They were brought in to help fill the gap left by the loss of the usual pool of seasonal workers, including backpackers.

“Industry modelling shows if there was a significant reduction in the availability of seasonal workers there could have been nearly $1 billion wiped from our state economy,” Primary Industries Minister David Basham said.

“This would have been devastating for our local agriculture industry and the thousands of jobs across the state it supports.”

Mr Basham said the government had worked closely with SA Health and police to safely set up the specially configured Paringa Resort as a quarantine location.

He said the government would now consider other options to get more seasonal workers into SA if needed.

Discussions were continuing over a pre-departure quarantine pilot program in Vanuatu and Fiji, the minister said.

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