Emotional scenes as Australian state opens borders after five months

Emotional scenes as South Australia opens its borders to the rest of Australia after five months – with 30,000 people knocking on the door to come in

  • South Australia reopens after 153 days of being closed to NSW, Victoria and ACT
  • Reopening comes despite the state missing its 80 per cent double dose target
  • All of those heading for SA must be fully vaccinated and apply online to travel

There have been joyous scenes at Adelaide Airport as South Australia reopened its borders to NSW, Victoria and the ACT after 153 days.

‘A lot of people have been waiting for this day,’ said SA Premier Steven Marshall.

‘They’ve been dislocated from friends and family and of course they’ve been dislocated from business opportunities.’ 

Two people are seen hugging each other after one arrives from a Melbourne flight to Adelaide, on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. South Australia dropped its travel ban on people from NSW, Victoria and the ACT with the borders open from Tuesday

South Australia’s Police Commissioner Grant Stevens closed NSW borders on June 23, before imposing quarantine rules on Victorian travellers 24 days later. 

Only essential workers and those with exemptions were allowed to cross. 

The border reopened at 12.01am on Tuesday and already nearly 30,000 people have been approved to return after five months of being locked out.

The reopening comes despite the state missing its 80 per cent double dose target, with around 77.4 per cent of people fully vaccinated.  

More than 15,000 of the applications to travel to SA were from people assessed as coming from ‘low-risk’ and ‘very low-risk’ local government areas across Australia. 

The hospitality sector is hoping for bumper trade over Christmas and the new year as SA’s two biggest interstate markets, NSW and Victoria, reopen with an expected influx of visitors.

Mr Marshall said the ‘strong pandemic response had allowed us to safely transition into the next phase’. 

‘Our fantastic businesses will now start to see an increased vibrancy within the tourism economy and this will protect local jobs.

Young couple Hung Nguyen and Isabella Hill are reunited after a year after a flight from Sydney to Adelaide on Tuesday, November 23, 2021

‘I’m excited and proud of the hard work of each and every South Australian to get us to this milestone,’ he said. 

All of those heading for SA must be fully vaccinated and apply through the government’s EntryCheckSA.   

The website crashed on Monday due to the high volumes of traffic but was back online by last night. 

Mr Marshall apologised for a technical blunder that saw many experience troubles while attempting to get their affairs in order before the border opened. 

Two people are seen hugging each other in Adelaide Airport on Tuesday, November 23

The vaccination requirements apply to all people aged more than 12 years and 2 months. 

The conditions vary depending on risk level, ranging from no entry conditions other than vacccination, a Covid-19 test taken in 72 hours prior to arrival and quarantine requirements for ‘high risk’ international visitors or domestic arrivals. 

Unvaccinated people have to apply for an exemption to travel.

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