South Australia has been thrust into a harsh lockdown after the number of locally acquired coronavirus cases rose again on Wednesday.
Premier Steven Marshall announced the strict new measures will be implemented from midnight after two new cases took the COVID-19 outbreak to 22.
“We are going hard and we are going early,” he said.
“Time is of the essence and we must act swiftly and decisively. We cannot wait to see how bad this becomes.”
The pause to community activity will last six days followed by an eight-day period with eased restrictions.
New restrictions for South Australia outlined
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said all schools, pubs, cafes and restaurants will close as will takeaway restaurants.
Outdoor sport and travel are not permitted while aged care facilities will be in lockdown.
The construction industry will shut down for six days while weddings and funerals will not be permitted.
“The message is stay at home,” he told reporters, adding people cannot leave home for exercise.
Only one person will be able to leave the home once a day to access groceries and medical supplies.
Masks are strongly recommended in all places outside of the home, with Mr Marshall warning the state’s people to acquire masks in case they are mandated.
Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier labelled the restrictions “extreme” but “this is what we must do”.
She said there were a further seven suspected cases.
"You need will be thinking about where you are going to be for the next six days, where would be the most convenient for you where you can look after your loved ones and make those organisations and make those decisions now.”
No home is allowed visitors, including family, and anyone who has family needing care need to organise it immediately.
She called the lockdown a “circuit breaker” and said there will be “significant restrictions” across the 14 days. She said it was too early to call whether it would affect Christmas.
Commissioner Stevens said he expects people to “do the right thing” and “help us do our job”.
“We will be out there and making sure that people do the right thing,” he said.
Public transport will continue while medical services, urgent operations and cancer treatment are to go ahead.
Link between medi-hotels confirmed
Professor Spurrier said health authorities were left “very concerned” by a case linked to a different medi-hotel, The Stamford, to Peppers where the leak of the virus first occurred.
One of the security guards at Peppers was working part-time at Woodville Pizza Bar when the security guard from The Stamford visited.
“That means to me, it cemented my fears that this virus is spreading very, very rapidly,” she said.
“I want to give really strong advice because this is very, very important.
“Anybody who got takeaway delivery from Woodville pizza bar, 58 Woodville Rd, Woodville between the sixth and 16 November, a 10 day period, must immediately salve quarantine and get tested.”
Prof Spurrier said the state is at a “critical point” in its contact tracing.
Commisioner Stevens dismissed suggestion of fault allowing the security guard to have part-time work elsewhere.
“We cannot quarantine people simply because they are assisting us in working in quarantine hotel,” he said.
“They can participate in normal activities and whether that's participating in sport or taking on another part-time job, the level of engagement with the community in terms of how they do that is irrelevant.”
South Australia testing blitz continues
A huge response from Adelaide’s residents following a call to action from health authorities has led to extensive queues at testing sites, prompting SA Health to extend testing hours.
About 5000 people were tested on Monday and more than 6000 on Tuesday with some people forced to wait in line for up to 12 hours, and others were turned away when centres closed.
The Victoria Park testing clinic will now remain open until midnight.
On Tuesday there were about 4000 close contacts ordered to self-isolate while the number of locations visited by infected people continued to grow.
However SA Health issued a warning to people not to attend centres if they don’t have symptoms or haven’t been advised by SA Health in a bid to ensure infection was detected efficiently.
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