HEALTH Minister Stephen Wade has rejected calls to introduce mandatory supervised quarantine for people entering South Australia from Victoria, saying compulsory isolation would encourage people not to cooperate with COVID-19 testing requirements.
South Australia Labor is urging the State Government to impose tougher restrictions on cross-border travellers, citing SA Police figures which show more than 1000 people have breached entry conditions since the hard border restrictions were imposed.
Under new directions, Victorian essential travellers must obtain a COVID-19 test as soon as practicable and within seven days of entering South Australia.
Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory currently have similar measures in place for people entering the respective states from Victoria.
But Mr Wade said Labor’s proposal was not supported by the public health advice and would encourage non-compliance with current testing requirements.
“The public health commissioners say it’s not necessary and one of the reasons they say it’s not necessary is because when you make it so difficult for people in terms of getting tested or quarantine, people will actually not cooperate,” he said.
“People will say ‘I do not want to get tested, because if I get tested, I am going to be put away for two weeks’, so you lose the public.
“We back the public health team and they will quarantine people when they need to and that is what they have been doing.
“Labor is suggesting we put all of our resources into isolation and we would say we have a lot of challenges and we want to deploy our resources to the best effect.
“People people into quarantined isolation, for many people who represent no risk, is actually going to put us at risk of missing the other tasks we have.”
Mr Wade attributed South Australia’s high compliance rate – which he described as being in the high 90 percentile – to a public health positive engagement approach.
He said of the individuals who had been found to be non-compliant with the compulsory measures, very few were deliberate.
“Often it is a misunderstanding … often it is an education task,” Mr Wade said.
“Victoria and to a lesser extent New South Wales took a stick approach, which Labor is trying to make, but I do not think you engage the community.”
However, Shadow Health Minister Chris Picton said any measure to discourage Victorians travelling to South Australia should be adopted to safeguard the
“If the prospect of mandatory supervised quarantine dissuades some people from entering South Australia on compassionate grounds, that is a good thing,” he said.
“Over the past 25 days, the non-compliance rate has been over 7pc.
“We have already seen a cluster of cases come out in Victoria – we cannot afford for any more of these to happen in South Australia.
“We would love a situation where we do not need to have a strong approach, but these are extraordinary times and when you see a level of non-compliance across the state.
“It only takes one person doing the wrong thing to potentially set out state backward.”