South Australian premier Steven Marshall says he will open his state borders to COVID-stricken eastern states once his own state hits the 80 per cent double vaccination mark.
Mr Marshall said he believed that would happen before Christmas but warned the border may still be shut to people who are in hot-spot localities in the near future.
His comments are a stark difference to the state leaders of Queensland and Western Australia, who have refused to embrace the national plan to open up once vaccination rates hit that level.
“I think we just move back to where we were last year, if you recall with the Alpha strain, we allowed people to come in if they weren’t at exposure sites, if they weren’t in specifics LGAs,” Mr Marshall told Sky News Australia on Sunday.
South Australia has vaccinated about 58 per cent of its state with one dose, while 40 per cent have had both doses.
Mr Marshall said health measures would still need to be in place for some time, where people with or directly exposed to the virus would need to isolate, to ensure the health system was not “swamped”.
“We are going to have to live with it, it’s going to be a tough period over the next three or four months, what I’m hopeful though is that we stick to the science and the evidence,” he said.
Mr Marshall said many businesses were likely to insist on vaccination status for entry but it was unlikely there would be any government-led directive unless national cabinet agreed.
“We have for people in who are working within aged care facilities, we are also looking at it for people in the transport sector,” he said.
There have been six cases of coronavirus in the transport industry in the state in the past week.
“We can’t be complacent; we need to keep this Delta strain at bay for as long as possible, certainly until we hit the 80 per cent vaccination mark.”
He said currently about 40 people were quarantining at home under a national pilot to phase out hotel quarantine for international travellers, with numbers expected to increase dramatically in the coming weeks under the trial.
Mr Marshall said the pilot program used a mobile phone application to monitor quadrating travellers, which was proving successful.