International travellers who test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Adelaide will now be moved to two dedicated floors in one of the city’s quarantine hotels after delays in setting up a permanent facility.
Flights were put on hold last month after an outbreak of coronavirus cases, but will resume on Tuesday with 72 people flying in from Singapore.
They will be tested for coronavirus on their arrival, with any found to be infected to be moved to the city’s Pullman Hotel.
Security there will be tighter after a cluster of cases in Adelaide in November was linked to a guard who became infected at another hotel.
The two floors will have the capacity to take 43 people, with guests to be spaced out and have access to 24-hour nursing and mental health care.
All security will be provided by police.
Health Minister Stephen Wade said the government was still looking for a stand-alone facility to care for infected travellers and other COVID positive cases and hoped to make an announcement soon.
The first site considered, the refurbished Wakefield Hospital, was found to be lacking in adequate ventilation.
Mr Wade said while the Pullman was only an interim facility it represents a significant strengthening of the quarantine system.
He said the ongoing work to find a permanent facility also showed that SA health was not rushing to come up with a solution.
“This is very careful planning of a dedicated facility that will not only provide a high level of security and safety for COVID positive patients but also lower the risk for the general medi-hotel population,” he said.
“This is a significant strengthening of what was already a first-class regime.”
More flights are scheduled to arrive in Adelaide later this week, but the final number of arrivals is yet to be determined.
However, the minister said the government remained committed to helping bring Australians home.
“I am very proud of the fact that South Australia is setting up and playing its part in the international repatriation effort,” he said.
“I do not want to be looking back in decades to come ashamed of the fact that we left thousands of Australians stranded in COVID infested countries.”
No new COVID-19 cases were reported in SA on Monday, for the ninth day in a row.
The size of the so-called Parafield cluster remained at 33 with only two of those infections still considered active.