South Australia scraps lockdown after ‘lie’ discovered

South Australia scraps lockdown after ‘lie’ discovered
Man linked to pizza bar outbreak told contact tracers he had only been there for takeaway when he worked at the outlet.

South Australia is to lift a strict six-day coronavirus lockdown early, saying the curbs were imposed after a man who tested positive misled contact tracers about his activities.

The shock announcement came just two days after the state government ordered people to stay at home and closed businesses to combat what it thought was a highly contagious outbreak of coronavirus.

The state premier, Steven Marshall, told a media conference in Adelaide that a man at a pizza bar linked to the outbreak had “deliberately misled” contact tracers, telling them he had only bought a pizza there, when he had actually worked several shifts at the outlet alongside another worker who tested positive.

The lie led the authorities to assume the man had caught the virus during a very short exposure, suggesting the strain was highly contagious.

“Their (the man’s) story didn’t add up. We pursued them. We now know that they lied,” Marshall told reporters.

“To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement. This selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation.”

Exercise outside of the home is now permitted & can be done with members of the same household.

All other restrictions under the Stay at Home Direction will remain until midnight Saturday.

From 12:01am Sunday, restrictions will be eased & @SAPoliceNews will provide details. pic.twitter.com/zUzVgTGoUZ

— Steven Marshall, MP (@marshall_steven) November 20, 2020

While the outbreak was still worrying, Marshall said restrictions would be lifted early with a stay-at-home order ending at midnight on Saturday when most businesses would also be allowed to open.

Asked what punishment the individual might face, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said there was “no penalty” for lying to tracers under the current law, although that was likely to be reviewed.

“I think it is stating the obvious to say that this person’s actions has had a devastating impact on our community,” said Stevens. “The hardship is not lost on us.”

Criticisms

Stevens would not be drawn on the man’s motivation for misleading contact tracers.

On Wednesday, authorities ordered schools, shops, pubs, factories and even takeaway restaurants to close and stay-at-home orders were issued for residents across the state of about 1.8 million people.

Since then, however, tens of thousands of tests have shown no new community transmission and the cluster has come to only 25 cases, leading to accusations that authorities overreacted.

Tens of thousands of tests have shown no new community transmission in South Australia [Brenton Edwards/AFP]

People in Adelaide, the state capital, and the rest of South Australia, will be able to leave their homes immediately for exercise, and most other restrictions will be eased late on Saturday.

The number of new cases in the state is still expected to rise during the next few days.

Australia as a whole has been relatively successful in containing the virus with only about 95 cases currently active.

The state of Victoria on Friday reported its 21st day of zero cases, following a marathon lockdown of the country’s second-largest city, Melbourne.

XL subscribe to our newsletter banner

Get the latest news and advice on COVID-19, direct from the experts in your inbox. Join hundreds of thousands who trust experts by subscribing to our newsletter.

Send your news and stories to us news@climaxradio.co.uk or newstories@climaxnewsroom.com and WhatsApp: +447747873668.

Before you go...

Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.

Leave a Reply