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Airlines rush to put on more flights after border restrictions are set to be eased

Several airlines are scrambling to offer more flights as border restrictions between New South Wales and South Australia are set to be eased.

Last week SA lifted the quarantine requirements for people coming from the ACT and will do the same for travellers from NSW from Thursday.

That’s prompted an immediate response from the airlines with Virgin planning to resume Canberra to Adelaide flights from October 12 and to increase flights from Sydney to Adelaide to three each week from October 2.

The airline has flagged adding even more flights from November.

Qantas is also expected to add flights from Sydney to Adelaide this week along with budget airline Jetstar.

The long-awaited decision on SA’s border with NSW was made at Tuesday’s meeting of the state’s transition committee and came after initial plans to lift the isolation measures were stalled for weeks because of a cluster of coronavirus cases in Sydney.

‘This is going to be a relief that will be felt across our state, from an economic perspective and from a family perspective,’ Premier Steven Marshall said.

‘We know that this has been a massive burden on the business community and also on families and individuals.’

The premier said health officials had examined the concerning case of an infected Sydney taxi driver but were satisfied it was a risk that could be managed.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the decision to ease the border measures came after 14 days of no community transmission in NSW involving cases with an unknown origin.

‘I know people will be concerned about the taxi driver. But I’m very confident that person is not representative of community transmission,’ she said.

‘He did spend some time in the community while infectious. But many people have been asked to quarantine because of those exposures.’

Professor Spurrier has urged anyone travelling between SA and NSW to keep a close eye on the latest information in relation to coronavirus cases in Sydney and called for all travellers on planes to wear masks.

SA reported no new coronavirus cases on Tuesday and has no active infections.

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