Australian Defence Force personnel have been sent to the South Australia-Victoria border to assist South Australian Police.
They will help to enforce the hard border regulations designed to prevent people from virus-hit Victoria entering SA, which is now relatively virus-free.
Sixty personnel are already in place and more to come
A total of 60 ADF personnel are already in place and this number is expected to rise to 100 shortly.
They have been deployed to regional border crossings from Berri down to Mount Gambier. In all, there are 10 checkpoints where ADF and Police personnel will work together.
Apart from working at the fixed crossing points, the troops will also do mobile patrols in the border areas.
Initial six-week deployment may be increased if necessary
The initial ADF deployment period is for six weeks, but this may be increased if circumstances warrant it.
Speaking to ABC News, the ADF’s Colonel Graham Goodwin noted: “Complacency is everywhere, so anything that we can do to prevent the spread of this disease, I think it should be employed.
“You don’t need me to tell you that South Australia is doing exceptionally well relative to other states and that’s because of things that have been implemented thus far.”
ADF personnel enthusiastic, well trained and ready to work
Goodwin said that, for the soldiers, the situation was undoubtedly different to what they thought they’d signed up for. But the work that was important was happening here and now.
“We’ve got a lot of very enthusiastic, highly trained men and women in the Defence Force … they joined to protect the nation. They’re enthusiastic, they like to work, and they’re very glad to be here.”
People may cross border only in particular circumstances
As of late last week, only residents returning to South Australia or those granted special exemptions are allowed to pass through checkpoints along the border.
Anyone returning is still be required to self-isolate for 14 days, while Victorian residents attempting to cross are being turned away, unless they are essential travellers and abide by strict conditions.