South Australia and Victoria will advocate for nationally consistent guidelines on the arrival and transfer of people from overseas after a bungled case resulted in a coronavirus infection in Adelaide.

A woman from Britain, who was granted an exemption on compassionate grounds to be with her dying father in Adelaide, arrived from Melbourne on Sunday but was not met by any local health officials.

SA Health staff had missed an email from their Victorian counterparts, detailing the woman’s flight arrangements.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier has apologised for the error and says it’s prompted a review of local processes.

She has also spoken to her Victorian counterpart, Brett Sutton, and together they intend to raise the issue at a national level.

After arriving from the UK, the woman, in her 50s, had spent about a week in quarantine in Victoria and had tested negative for COVID-19 while in isolation.

She wore a mask while travelling to SA and made herself known to airport authorities and was then escorted out by police.


When tested again, she returned the positive result, becoming the state’s 440th virus case and the first for almost three weeks.

The woman was returned to quarantine while almost 20 close contacts were also ordered to self-isolate.

Her case has prompted SA to put a temporary ban on granting travel exemptions on compassionate grounds until, what Premier Steven Marshall calls, “airtight systems” are in place.


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