Hospital bed boost in SA for virus surge

Steven Marshall says SA will boost hospital bed capacity as it prepares for a rise in COVID cases.
Steven Marshall says SA will boost hospital bed capacity as it prepares for a rise in COVID cases.

South Australia will create an extra 93 beds across Adelaide's public hospital network as the state prepares for a jump in COVID-19 cases when border restrictions are eased.

SA is planning to wind back some border rules, including the current hard closures with NSW, Victoria and the ACT, when double dose vaccination rates hit 80 per cent.

Premier Steven Marshall said after months of detailed transition planning, the $123 million investment in extra capacity would ensure the state was ready.

"Throughout the pandemic, our public health response has been central to keeping us safe and strong," he said.

"As we move closer to reaching our vaccination targets, we are building a stronger, more agile health system to ensure South Australians have access to the care they need when we relax our borders and learn to live with COVID-19 in the community."

Health Minister Stephen Wade said the commitment for extra beds built on a plan to recruit 1200 nurses and midwives.

"We want to assure South Australians that when our borders reopen, this investment will ensure our health system is in the best position possible for all to access world-class care, if required," he said.

It comes as four travellers were arrested after allegedly lying to police near the Victoria-South Australia border on Wednesday night.

A car was stopped on a dirt road near Loxton, with a 34-year-old NSW man inside arrested after admitting to being in a restricted area.

He was charged with breaching the Emergency Management Act and faced court on Thursday.

The three other occupants, a 50-year-old Victorian woman, 31-year-old NSW woman and 32-year-old NSW man, gave different accounts of their movements and were placed into hotel quarantine before being arrested and charged on Thursday.

They will face Adelaide Magistrates Court on Friday after being refused bail.

SA reported no new virus cases on Thursday. There are seven active infections all being managed in hotel quarantine.

Five of those were acquired in either NSW or Victoria.

Latest data shows almost 75 per cent of South Australians over 16 have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and almost 57 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Australian Associated Press