SA premier defends border exemption

SA will push ahead with lifting COVID-19 restrictions despite confirmation of a new virus infection.
SA will push ahead with lifting COVID-19 restrictions despite confirmation of a new virus infection.

The South Australian premier has defended the decision to allow a woman - since confirmed to have coronavirus - into the state for compassionate reasons, saying "we've got to have a heart".

Steven Marshall said the woman, in her 50s, was not the first interstate traveller authorised to enter SA on such grounds.

Exemptions had been granted to more than 20 people, he said.

"We've got to have a heart so there are some circumstances for compassionate reasons that we've (allowed) people to come to SA and that's still the right way to go," the premier said.

"It is a controlled arrangement. There was a process put in place which is being followed.

"She is in quarantine and is not coming into contact with the people of SA so I say the system has worked well."

Mr Marshall could not provide more details about the woman or her reasons for entering the state but said it was not critical.

"I'm not provided with a briefing on people's personal circumstances and I don't think the average Australian would want that to be the case," he said.

The woman tested positive for the virus after flying to Adelaide from Victoria, becoming SA's 440th confirmed infection.

It is the state's first case in almost three weeks.

She recently returned to Australia from overseas and was given an exemption to fly to SA despite only spending a week in quarantine.

Opposition health spokesman Chris Picton said the case raised many questions, including whether or not a test should have been conducted before the woman arrived in Adelaide and how many people she had contact with.

"It's vital South Australians have confidence in our border restrictions, and transparency is key," Mr Picton said.

Revealing details of the case on Tuesday, Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said a number of people who came into contact with the woman were being tracked down, including those on the same flight.

She said the new case did not present a serious risk to the wider SA community.

Australian Associated Press