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SA restrictions as Parafield COVID cluster grows

South Australia recorded just two new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, as health authorities announced a lockdown for six days.

There are currently 22 linked cases to the Parafield cluster.

There are also an additional seven people either waiting test results or who returned a negative test but remain highly suspicion and considered infectious.

As of midnight on Wednesday, all non-essential business will be forced to close under the tough new rules to try to contain the virus, according to Premier Steven Marshall.

After the six-day lockdown there will be tough restrictions that will come into place for the following eight days.

Masks will also be mandatory outside of the home.

SA Health’s chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said though the number of new cases today was low, the virus was breeding rapidly and the lockdown was “the right thing to do”.

She provided details on a case that was announced yesterday and said there were concerns about how a young man who worked in the kitchen at the Stamford hotel became infected.

“Last night we made the link. A close contact of one of the security guards who also worked part time at the pizza bar and the case last night also worked in the same pizza bar and the person who was at the Stamford went and got pizza from there. We will get the genomics to prove it.”

Spurrier said the lockdown marked “the one chance we have got to having a normal Christmas”.

“If we leave it too much longer, then that chance disappears,” she said.

“The virus, unfortunately, doesn’t understand our public holidays or religious festivals – it doesn’t understand we have got Christmas coming up.”

Marshall said there was no time to spare in announcing the lockdown.

“We are going hard and fast, time is of the essence and we must act swiftly and decisively. We can’t wait to see how bad this becomes,” he said.

“We can must follow the expert advice to keep SA safe and strong.

“Pausing community activity will significantly reduce the risk of the virus spreading further.”

Marshall said additional contact tracing resources had been offered from the federal, Western Australian and NSW governments.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens announced all schools – except for children of essential workers or vulnerable children – food and takeaway, universities, pubs, cafes, coffee shops and food courts will be closed.

All sport or outdoor activity, like exercising, as well as elective surgery – not including urgent operations and cancer treatment – will also be stopped and regional travel is not approved.

Aged care and disability resident care facilities will also be in lockdown while weddings and funerals will be banned.

“The message is to stay at home unless you’re accessing essential services,” Stevens said.

“We expect people to do the right thing. We are relying on people to do the right thing.” Critical infrastructure – including water, power and telecommunications – will be able to function and supermarkets, medical services that include mental health, the airport and public transport, post offices, mining and smelting and veterinary services will be able to remain open.

Only one person per household once a day will be allowed to buy groceries.

SA Police have also advised anyone who was present at the following businesses and/or schools on one or more of the following days to immediately self-isolate:

  • Roma Mitchell Secondary College, Gepps Cross on November 12 and 13
  • Thomas More College, Salisbury Downs on November 12 and 13
  • Mawson Lakes Primary School, Mawson Lakes on November 13
  • The Elizabeth Aquadome, Elizabeth on November 14 between 11am – 1.30pm
  • Peppers Waymouth Hotel Adelaide from any time between October 31 until November 15 inclusive
  • Woodville Pizza Bar, Woodville South from any time between November 6 until November 16 inclusive

The new cases have been linked to a large family, with patient zero being a woman in her 80s who presented at the Lyell McEwin Hospital on Sunday.

It has since been revealed the virus was contracted from a repatriated Australian residing in hotel quarantine at Peppers Adelaide where three staff members became infected.

As a result, there are now about 4000 people forced into isolation.

Widespread testing and contract tracing is underway to contain the spread of the deadly virus as multiple states slam their borders shut to South Australia.

Marshall was expected to announce tougher restrictions on Wednesday, despite the rules already being reigned in earlier this week.

He first flagged the idea on breakfast radio.

“Possibly. We just need to get all the data in from overnight. We’ll be providing a full update for the people of SA midmorning,” Marshall told 5AA Radio.

“We’ll provide a full update on the case [announced at Tuesday’s press conference]. Professor Spurrier only received the data on that an hour before yesterday’s press conference.

“We’ll be able to provide full details of that and any new infections overnight.”

Under the restriction changes announced on Monday, gyms, trampoline play cafes and recreation centres were forced to close and a maximum of 10 people are allowed at private residences for the next two weeks.

Licensed venues and funerals had caps and consuming alcohol while standing was also no longer permitted.

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