South Australia’s lockdowns to wind back early

After a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case in SA was found to have lied to contact traces, SA Premier said the ‘circuit breaker’ conditions would be lifted early.

The ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown in South Australia is set to be lifted early after officials found a close contact linked to the Woodville Pizza Bar deliberately misled the contact tracing team.

Premier Steven Marshall said: “Their story didn’t add up. We pursued them. We now know that they lied. I stress this point, that this is still a very dangerous cluster and our expert health – our health experts remain extremely concerned.

“I will not let the disgraceful conduct of a single individual to keep SA in these circuit breaker conditions one day longer than what is necessary. However, this lie still means that our contact tracers need breathing space to contact people but not for as long.

“We are still urging South Australians to get tested. Just as we have acted immediately to put restrictions in place to keep South Australians safe, we are going to act to lift them much sooner than previously advised.”

The change means that people are allowed out of their homes for exercise immediately, and that the lockdown restrictions on the state’s venues will be lifted from midnight on Saturday.

However, the state’s COVID coordinator, Commissioner Grant Stephens, said that SA would revert to a series of restrictions, similar to the ones put in place at the beginning of the week.

This means venues will be restricted to a density of one person per four square metres. In addition, capacity in hospitality venues will be capped at 100, with table bookings limited to 10 people. Patrons will also only be able to consume food and drinks in venues while seated.

Petrol stations, convenience stores and supermarkets are awaiting confirmation on whether trade will return to normal, and C&I will continue to update as new information arises.

Commissioner Stephens said the person’s lie “clearly changes the circumstances”, adding “had this person been truthful to the contact tracing teams, we would not have gone into a six-day lock down.      

“The second consequence of that lie is this person has numerous associates, persons of interest that we are now trying to identify and locate that we would not have had to do so had they been truthful from the beginning.

“There is an absolute need for us to move quickly over the next 24 to 36 hours to identify and locate these people so we know we have eliminated the risk of this particular strain spreading further into the community.”

Earlier today South Australia reported three new cases, with all cases being people who were in quarantine. Professor Nicola Spurrier, the Chief Public Health Officer, said: “I just want to give people a little warning we are expecting to see the number of cases here in South Australia rising over the next couple of days, and that is because we got in so early at the beginning of this cluster, and had people put in quarantine, and when we first tested them, they had not actually become positive.

“But we will be expecting that to happen now over the next couple of days. Please do not be alarmed by that, it is something we are expecting.”

In total SA carried out 14,459 tests yesterday and there are now 37 active cases.

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