South Australia Eases Restrictions Three Days Early After Contact Tracers Were Misled

November 20, 2020 Updated: November 20, 2020

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall will be easing restrictions three days early, after it was revealed a man infected with COVID-19 in the state’s CCP virus cluster misinformed health authorities.

Marshall has moved to immediately lift restrictions allowing people from the same household to exercise outdoors together, and as of midnight on Saturday stay-at-home orders will be raised.

Additional restrictions will be eased ahead of time as the state responds to a discovery by contact tracers on Thursday night, that a man lied about his connection to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus (novel coronavirus) cluster at Adelaide’s Woodville Pizza bar.

The worker had previously told contact tracers he had only bought a pizza there, making him not part of the close contact list. However, after further enquiries from South Australia (SA) police, he admitted to being a part-time employee at the pizza bar.

Premier Marshall was furious and was assessing the consequences for the individual’s action.

“To say that I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement. The selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation. His actions have affected business, individuals and family groups and are completely and utterly unacceptable,” he said at a press conference announcing the lifting of restrictions.

This person’s information has had a major impact on the health response, according to Police Commissioner and State Coordinator, Grant Stevens.

“Had this person been truthful to the contact tracing teams, we would not have gone into a six-day lockdown,” Stevens said.

Under SA’s Emergency Management Act, there is no penalty for giving false information to authorities; a similar rule applies in other Australian jurisdictions.

When asked if he thought the six-day lockdown was an overreaction to what was 34 active CCP virus cases, Stevens said, “It was the appropriate decision to make … because of the fears in relation to the transmissibility of this strain of the COVID-19 virus.”

Epoch Times Photo
South Australian Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier removes her mask during the COVID-19 daily update in Adelaide, Australia on Nov. 18, 2020. (Kelly Barnes/Getty Images)

SA’s Chief Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said she had no regrets for the actions taken, noting that they had to move quickly to avoid a hotel quarantine outbreak similar to neighbouring state Victoria.

Melbourne’s hotel quarantine CCP virus breach in June led to a community transmission which has seen over 800 deaths due to COVID-19 disease.

“If we took the soft approach, it would simmer along, and we would get patches of virus outbreak across the community Spurrier said.

Marshall announced that as of midnight on Nov. 20 restrictions will go back to what they were at the start of the week which were;

  • Public venues revert to four-meter squared density.
  • Hospitality bookings no more than ten people.
  • Funerals limited to 50 maximum, religious ceremonies capped at 100, weddings, 150 (but no dancing or drinking standing up).
  • Private gatherings limited to 50 people, in households ten maximum.
  • Hairdressers and beauty therapists are required to wear masks.
  • Gymnasiums will reopen open with the same four-meter squared ruling.

The SA government strongly advises people to wear masks, but it is not mandatory. Prior to the state announcement health minister Stephen Wade said that they are looking to move towards making it compulsory.

Marshall emphasised that he now focused on reopening the South Australian economy while sidestepping questions on whether businesses will be compensated for having to close due to restrictions.