SA begins daily testing for hotel workers

A dedicated quarantine facility in the heart of Adelaide will house positive COVID-19 cases.
A dedicated quarantine facility in the heart of Adelaide will house positive COVID-19 cases.

Daily saliva testing for COVID-19 has begun across South Australia's quarantine hotels as the state government continues to boost security around people returning from overseas.

The saliva tests are in addition to the weekly nose and throat swabs all workers in the quarantine hotels must have.

The same daily testing regime will also be rolled out later this month to all people who come in contact with returning Australians, including health and security staff at Adelaide Airport.

Premier Steven Marshall says it's all part of making it harder for the virus to escape into the community and stopping the spread should someone become infected.

"Every time there is a new infection in a quarantine hotel either here in South Australia or any other part of the country we all share that data," the premier told reporters on Monday.

"We want to make sure that our hotel quarantine situation is as safe as possible."

Mr Marshall said SA had noted the new virus cases involving quarantine facilities in NSW and Victoria but was not considering imposing any travel restrictions at this stage.

The only major measures that remain in place is a requirement for people to get three coronavirus tests if they come from Greater Melbourne in Victoria, Greater Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast in NSW and Perth, Peel and the south-west in Western Australia.

However, the premier said any new infection was a great concern and if SA needed to make changes to its settings it would do so.

SA Health reported one new COVID-19 case on Monday in a returned traveller in his 20s who is in hotel isolation.

Tests are underway to determine if it's an old infection.

He will be transferred next week to the new dedicated facility in Adelaide to cater for those with confirmed infections.

Health authorities took charge of the new facility on Monday with staff deployed ahead of the first guests from February 15.

The facility has had ventilation systems upgraded to make it as safe as possible and has upgraded CCTV coverage.

The 72-bed site includes four apartment-style rooms to accommodate families and two purpose-built disability suites.

The new facility was promised after November's COVID-19 outbreak in Adelaide which was sparked by a guard in a quarantine hotel picking up the virus.

South Australia will also consider adding an extra virus test for Australians returning from overseas to help ensure no cases are missed in hotel isolation.

Under current arrangements, anyone forced into quarantine in SA is tested on days one, five and 12.

But NSW has now introduced a test on day 16, which while not mandatory is highly recommended.

It's designed to pick up cases that might have developed at the tail end of the 14-day period.

Australian Associated Press