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South Australia predicted to open to students, travellers in Jan, Feb 2022

SA border restrictions
People queue at a supermarket after the South Australian state government announced a six-day lockdown because of a Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide on Nov. 18, 2020. Source: Brenton Edwards/AFP

SA border restrictions are reportedly set to lift for all fully-vaccinated domestic and international travellers when at least 90% of the state’s population aged 12 and above have received double doses of vaccination.

The question on many stranded students minds is when will that be? A recent projection from a local data scientist Ben Moretti may provide some insight. Moretti constructed a linear regression model based on the last 10 weeks of available LGA vaccination data.

By Nov. 23, 2021, there are 30 local government areas (LGAs) in South Australia that will not have 80% of its population fully vaccinated.

His model predicts that some areas — such as Playford and Salisbury — will not reach the 80% double dose vaccination rate up until early January.

What about the 90% vaccination rate milestone? According to a graph of 53 LGAs published by INDAILY, the Karoonda East Murray region in the Murray Mallee would only achieve this by February. It will only pass the 80% benchmark on Jan. 11, 2022. Most of the other LGAs are predicted to hit the 90% vaccination rate by January.

An empty street in Adelaide during day one of total lockdown across the state on November 18, 2020. Source: Brenton Edwards/AFP

SA border restrictions: Impact on pilot plan

Previously, South Australia announced it will no longer require participants in its “international students arrival plan” to undergo a fortnight’s quarantine, as specified when the scheme received federal government approval in June.

The authorities are reportedly reconsidering the need to charter special flights for students, after the government flagged the complete opening of its borders to fully vaccinated international arrivals. “Things are moving faster than we thought,” said Study Adelaide chief executive Karyn Kent to THE. “That’s a great thing for the students who need to get back at the beginning of 2022.”

Under the state government’s COVID-Ready Plan, borders will reopen to fully vaccinated people from all Australian states and territories from November 23. Quarantine will apply to LGAs with community transmission and less than 80% of the population fully vaccinated. They add that vaccinated international arrivals require seven days quarantine while unvaccinated authorised arrivals require 14 days quarantine.