SA to resume repatriation flights

South Australia will begin welcoming home residents from overseas next week.
South Australia will begin welcoming home residents from overseas next week.

South Australia will resume accepting returned Australians on international flights from next week after arrivals were suspended because of a cluster of COVID-19 cases.

The so-called Parafield cluster was sparked when a worker at one of Adelaide's quarantine hotels picked up the virus from someone who had returned from Britain.

It prompted a major revamp of SA's quarantine hotel system including a move to test all staff, including security guards, on a weekly basis.

The government put flights on hold for several weeks as it reinstated a range of restrictions and embarked on widespread contact tracing to bring the cluster under control.

Premier Steven Marshall said flights were clear to resume from next week but schedules were yet to be determined.

"We are ready to take incoming flights from next week," he told reporters on Saturday.

"They could occur from Monday but those schedules haven't been determined yet."

Any returned travellers found to be COVID-19 positive will be moved from hotel quarantine to a dedicated medical facility.

Mr Marshall said plans were underway to establish an interim facility ahead of finalising a more permanent location.

SA Health reported no new virus cases for the seventh day in a row on Saturday leaving the Parafield cluster at 33 with only seven of those considered active infections.

About 230 people considered close contacts remain in isolation but that number is down from a peak of almost 6000.

The run of virus-free days is giving officials more confidence the Parafield cluster has been contained and Mr Marshall said it was hoped states that introduced border restrictions because of the outbreak would soon ease those measures.

"We are still waiting to hear what will happen next week with Queensland and we are hopeful we can reach an agreement with Western Australia," he said.

Australian Associated Press