SA sends nurses, paramedics to help fight Victoria’s coronavirus crisis

A team of more than two dozen South Australian nurses and paramedics is heading to Victoria to help fight a series of coronavirus outbreaks in suburbs across Melbourne.

In total, 29 clinicians have flown out for Melbourne amid warnings from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that the entirety of the eastern state may have to go into a renewed coronavirus lockdown if the number of COVID-19 cases there continues to rise.

A further 20 South Australian contact tracers will help investigate the Melbourne outbreaks, but remain in Adelaide.

SA Premier Steven Marshall — who yesterday scrapped a plan to reopen the border on July 20 — said South Australia was happy to help Victoria in its time of need.

“I think that there are a lot of South Australians that are wanting to play their part in helping the national cause,” Mr Marshall told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.

“We are concerned about what’s happening in Victoria.

Mr Andrews yesterday announced a lockdown to be imposed on 10 Melbourne postcodes as a result of “unacceptably high” case numbers there.

Victoria recorded 73 new coronavirus cases overnight.

It is the 15th consecutive 24-hour period of double-digit case increases in the state.

Mr Marshall said that, last night, he received text messages from Mr Andrews, thanking South Australia for its contribution.

He said he was confident the strategy of locking down individual postcodes in Melbourne would be effective, adding that it mirrored the lockdown of SA’s Barossa Valley, where a cluster of COVID-19 cases was identified in late March.

Mission will also help protect SA

SA Health Minister Stephen Wade told reporters at Adelaide Airport that the clinicians were effectively providing the “first line of defence for South Australia’s health and wellbeing” by helping manage the Victorian outbreak.

He said Victoria had requested the help during the last 24 hours.

“By testing Victorians, helping them to identify cases and isolate cases, that will only increase the security of South Australia,” Mr Wade said.

“We need, as a nation, to work together to respond to this challenge … we stand ready to do whatever we can to support Victoria.”

A group of Paramedics dressed in green overalls standing in the Adelaide Airport
SA Health Minister Stephen Wade speaks to a group of paramedics prior to their flight to Victoria.(ABC News: Claire Campbell)

The clinicians will be posted to Victoria for up to a fortnight before returning to South Australia, where they will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Mr Wade said South Australia would have a second team of about 30 clinicians ready to travel to Melbourne at the next rotation.

SA Ambulance Service CEO David Place said that close to 40 paramedics volunteered to travel to Victoria in less than 24 hours.

“I think they need to be commended for what they’ve done.”