There will be no ‘freedom day’ in South Australia when vaccine targets are reached, with efforts continuing to try to keep Covid-19 out of the state, Premier Steven Marshall says.
The premier says while SA has signed up to the national roadmap to allow border measures and lockdown rules to ease, some level of local restrictions will remain in force to keep people safe.
‘We will have to keep some public health social measures in place,’ he said.
Earlier Mr Marshall threw his full support behind the national Covid recovery plan, indicating state lockdowns and lockouts will no longer be needed by Christmas.
The plan – agreed on at National Cabinet – sees restrictions start to ease at vaccination rates of 70 and 80 per cent.
‘Once we get to double dose 80 per cent vaccination across South Australia we will certainly move away from state lockdowns,’ Mr Marshall told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program last week.
But he now appears to have changed his tune – perhaps following the hardline approaches of Mark McGowan in WA and Mick Gunner in the NT.
Mr McGowan said he wanted his state to be closer to 90 per cent vaccinated before he would even set a date for reopening the border to NSW and Victoria – likely in March or April.
While Mr Gunner in the NT said he would introduce the ‘toughest vaccination rules in the country’.
Mr Marshall now seems to be pushing for a more measured approach to opening up.
‘We’re not going to have a freedom day where the borders are open and restrictions are removed at the same time,’ Mr Marshall said.
‘This is still a very dangerous pandemic. We want to ensure we maintain our good management of the disease.’
Mr Marshall said anybody who became infected in SA, along with their close contacts, would still face periods in quarantine.
The premier said South Australia did not want the disease ‘running through our state’ but believed the virus ‘will eventually come in’.
‘We want to do that on our own terms and that means, test, trace, isolate and quarantine, and have some public health measures remaining in place,’ he said.