Covid SA: The 'catastrophic' scenario avoided with brief lockdown

·2-min read

There have been no locally acquired coronavirus cases in South Australia, with one new infection in hotel quarantine as the state rolled back its lockdown on Sunday.

SA's Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the case – a woman in her 20s who was in hotel quarantine – was nothing to be be concerned about in relation to community transmission.

Premier Steven Marshall praised South Australians and said the state had avoided a “catastrophic situation”.

Medical staff talk to people at a walk-in station at Parafield Airport in Adelaide.
A woman undergoes a Covid test as Adelaide's Parafield Airport. Source: Getty Images

Prof Spurrier elaborated on how a forecast model projected how cases could accumulate in the state by mid-December if the short lockdown, which lasted for three days, was not implemented and the state didn’t “supercharge” contact tracing.

The chief public health officer said there was a 50 per cent chance SA could have seen 100 daily cases by mid-December “with Christmas not far away”.

“This was not something I felt we should be allowing to happen in South Australia,” Prof Spurrier said.

“We had come too far to allow this to just take off like this.”

Other modelling showed a smaller chance that cases could have been even higher – upwards of 200 a day by mid-December, Prof Spurrier said.

Though Prof Spurrier admitted due to there only being a small number of cases, there is a “great degree of uncertainty” with the modelling, though it was absolute SA was facing a second wave.

“I know this has been a very challenging time for the people of South Australia, but we have avoided a catastrophic situation in our state by following the unequivocal advice,” Mr Marshall said.

The premier added he was proud of every single South Australian.

“I know that this week, they've had to endure a lot. And whilst we had been physically distanced, I don't think we've ever been more united,” he said.

A general view of an empty Rundle Mall on day one of the lockdown in Adelaide, Thursday, November 19, 2020.
South Australia recorded just one new Covid case, a woman in hotel quarantine. Source: AAP

Both Mr Marshall and Prof Spurrier praised South Australians for getting tested. More than 16,000 people got tested on Saturday.

Prof Spurrier urged anyone with symptoms to get tested as soon as possible.

Though restaurants and businesses are now allowed to reopen, Prof Spurrier implored people to be “Covid Safe”.

“People need to remember that basic hand hygiene, you must stay one and a half metres away from other people that you don't know,” she said, also encouraging people to wear a face mask in public.

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