South Australia will be ordered into a major lockdown for six days in what the State Government has labelled a “circuit breaker”, as authorities scramble to contain a coronavirus outbreak.
- South Australians will have to stay home other than for specific purposes
- Industries, schools and takeaway food outlets will close, with outdoor exercise prohibited
- This strain of COVID-19 is breeding “very, very rapidly” and people with no symptoms can spread it
From midnight tonight, for the next six days, all schools, pubs, cafes, takeaway food outlets and the construction industry will close. Exercise will be banned outside the house.
People will be restricted from going outside their homes. Only one person per household will be able to leave the home each day, but only for specific purposes.
People are being encouraged to wear masks whenever they are outside their homes.
Universities and all outdoor sport will be shut down, while elective surgery will cease. Weddings and funerals will also be banned.
Urgent operations and cancer treatment will be allowed to go ahead.
Only children of essential workers will be allowed to attend school in-person.
Critical infrastructure such as water, electricity and telecommunications will remain open, as will supermarkets.
Medical services, including mental health support, will be open, as will public transport.
‘Going hard and going early’
SA Premier Steven Marshall called the measures a necessary “circuit breaker” to allow for a contact tracing blitz on cases linked to the Parafield cluster.
“We continue to face our biggest test to date,” he said.
There have been two new cases of coronavirus in SA, both linked to the Parafield cluster.
The cluster now sits at 22 confirmed cases with a further seven suspected cases.
Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the particular strain of the virus in South Australia was breeding “very, very rapidly” with a short incubation period of about 24 hours, and with infected people showing only minimal symptoms.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said there would be a further eight-day period of significant restrictions, with some “concessions”, after the initial six-day “circuit breaker”.
Measures to prevent ‘the experience in Victoria’
Professor Spurrier said the lockdown was needed because of the unusually transmissible nature of this strain of coronavirus, and to prevent the need for a Victorian-style long-term lockdown.
“We don’t have any time to wait.
“If I just thought about this all day and then told the Police Commissioner and the Premier tonight, we would already be that 12 hours behind.”
Other restrictions over the next six days will include temporarily banning fly-in, fly-out work, regional travel and the rental of holiday homes.
Aged care and disability residential facilities will also be in lockdown.
Spurrier worried by deliveries from Woodville Pizza Bar
Professor Spurrier said she was worried about the fact Woodville Pizza Bar, which has been linked to the cluster, has been on food delivery apps.
At today’s press conference, she was asked how concerned she was that COVID-19 may have spread through restaurants across Adelaide.
“This is one of the reasons we’re putting in place the restrictions.”
She stressed that anyone who got takeaway food from Woodville Pizza Bar must immediately self-quarantine and get tested.
“That is really, really important,” she said.
“They must go directly to the testing location, wear a mask and alert the staff that they have visited the pizza bar.
Mask-wearing conditions to become ‘stricter’
Although the Government is now urging all South Australians to wear masks, it has not yet made public mask wearing mandatory.
“I’d like you to get online and have a look at other ways of having the disposable masks or cloth masks.
“People who are handy with a sewing machine, maybe can run some up.”
Professor Spurrier said authorities were considering how to distribute masks across the state.
More than 100 SA Police in quarantine
Commissioner Stevens said more than 100 police officers were currently in self-quarantine.
“We had 99 police officers from the cluster associated with Peppers, and as a result of activity at the Lyell McEwin Hospital there were a further 18 police officers who were required to quarantine,” he said.
“A lot of those officers are expected to come away from quarantine quite quickly.
“As for the officers involved in the Peppers, essentially most of them are likely to have to do the 14 days quarantine.”