South Australia will play its part in a coordinated national operation to repatriate hundreds of the thousands of Australians trying to return home from abroad.
Since 28 March citizens returning to Australia have been required to undertake supervised quarantine in hotels. Thousands of Australians have returned, including many South Australians. Next week South Australia will receive two flights of returning Australian citizens and permanent residents who will go into quarantine in South Australian hotels.
Premier Steven Marshall said the State Control Centre has developed a comprehensive plan to oversee the returning citizens, which will ensure the health and safety of all South Australians.
“All operational measures have been put in place to enforce the returning citizens’ 14-day quarantine period and ultimately keep South Australia safe and strong” Premier Marshall said.
“We can't leave Australians stranded. These are Australian citizens who have been caught up and stranded with the COVID-19 Pandemic, and for the most part, have found it difficult to get home.
“South Australia’s successful plan to slow the spread of the disease puts this State in a strong position and we have meticulously planned and prepared to manage these arrivals.”
The repatriation of Australians has been discussed at National Cabinet and the states will share the responsibility of providing adequate monitoring and health support for the returning citizens during their quarantine period.
Many South Australians have already been accommodated interstate during quarantine periods as part of the national effort.
The first flight into South Australia is expected to arrive Monday from India, via Indonesia.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said South Australia was well-placed to assist other states - many of which are nearing their quarantine capacity.
“Our health system has the capacity and we have the operational measures already in place to ensure the safety of South Australians,” Minister Wade said. “We also have the room in our quarantine locations to adequately care and provide comfortable accomodation for the returning citizens.
“During the 14-day quarantine, returning citizens will be in regular contact with a GP or hospital-in-the home service to monitor them for COVID-19 symptoms, and discuss their health, mental health and wellbeing.”
A 24-hour SAPOL presence will be in place at each site where the passengers are being accommodated, with external security engaged to ensure compliance with the quarantine controls.
The operation is a joint effort involving Adelaide Airport , Australian Border Force, Biosecurity personnel, SA Police, Australian Federal Police, SA Health Nurses and transport providers. Any people expected to come into contact with these travellers will be provided with masks and appropriate PPE.
All passengers will be screened upon arrival and only those cleared of COVID-19 symptoms will be transported directly to the quarantine location.
Once residing at their location, SA Pathology staff will commence swab testing of all passengers.
Upon completion of their quarantine, passengers who are not South Australian residents will be assisted to return to their home state.