Tuesday, 24 November, 2020

Australian State Cuts COVID Lockdown Short, Saying Man Lied To Contact Tracers

A side-on shot of Premier Steven Marshall speaking to the media Premier Steven Marshall says SA has avoided a COVID-19"catastrophe
Deanna Wagner | 22 November, 2020, 03:42

The risk in the state is still not over, with thousands of people potentially linked to the pizza bar and other locations still to be traced.

South Australian premier Steven Marshall called for the lockdown off the back of the story, with health officials suspecting that the man must have caught the virus from brief exposure - and therefore the strain must be highly contagious.

No further details have been released about the man, and Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said current laws do not allow him to be arrested or charged.

South Australia state Premier Steven Marshall told a media conference in Adelaide that one man at a pizza bar tied to the outbreak told contact tracers he had only bought a pizza there, when he had actually worked several shifts at the food outlet alongside another worker who tested positive.

"This person's failure to be truthful with contact tracers means his close associates - who we understand he's had close contact with - haven't been identified and are now in the community", Stevens pointed out.

"This is the one element that pushed us from the level of restrictions we were implementing on Tuesday to a much harsher regime", he said.

The modelling drove her decision to enter a hard lockdown and "supercharge" contact tracing efforts, she said.

When asked whether the pizza parlour would receive extra security after his announcement due to public anger, Stevens said, "There are all sorts of things we are considering at this point".

"The Emergency Management Act requires people to provide information on request", he said.

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South Australia will persist with its plans to lift its six-day lockdown early after only one new COVID-19 case was recorded on Saturday, following 19,000 tests on Friday.

And after having other states in Australia shut their borders to Victoria, the state has made a decision to close its border with neighboring South Australia, which is experiencing a new spike in cases.

All the new and suspected cases are already in quarantine, with the total number of people in isolation rising to more than 4500.

There have now been more than 5400 close contacts identified to the cluster in Adelaide with Professor Spurrier saying more positive cases are to be expected. "That is a big push today", she said.

However, Mr Marshall added that the threat to his state from the cluster of cases has not passed.

South Australia's six-day lockdown will be lifted after just three days, following new information about the Parafield cluster.

But he said the state was "not out of the woods yet".

On December 1 - the same day SA's border reopens to Victoria - the state will return to the same restrictions that were in place on November 13.

The South Australian police have since deployed a 20-strong task force of senior detectives to investigate whether the man had any criminal motives.