Wednesday, 02 December, 2020


Pizza restaurant worker’s lie led to South Australia lockdown, officials say

Not even dog walks allowed: This country has imposed world`s toughest lockdown South Australia comes out of lockdown early after man linked to outbreak 'lied' to contact tracers
Patty Aguilar | 21 November, 2020, 06:54

South Australia state Premier Steven Marshall said at a media conference in Adelaide that the man who tested positive told contact tracers he had only bought a pizza at a pizza shop, when he had actually worked several shifts there alongside another worker who tested positive.

Asked what punishment the individual might face, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said there was "no penalty" for lying to tracers under the current law, although that was likely to be reviewed.

The man is lawfully in Australia on a temporary graduate visa, which is due to expire in mid-December.

"The second effect of that lie is this person has numerous associates, persons of interest that we are now trying to identify and locate that we would not have had to do so had they been truthful from the beginning", he said. "If this person was honest from the outset, we wouldn't be where we are today".

"This is the one element that pushed us from the level of restrictions we were implementing on Tuesday to a much harsher regime".

Twenty detectives are working on the case.

"To say this week has been a roller-coaster ride for South Australian business owners would be a gross understatement", chief executive Martin Haese said.

South Australia will persist with its plans to lift its six-day lockdown early after only one new COVID-19 case was recorded on Saturday, following 19,000 tests on Friday.

The Parafield cluster now spans 26 cases and more than 5400 contacts are in isolation.

There are now 26 cases connected to the outbreak and one person remains in hospital.

The revelation came as the Parafield cluster in Adelaide's northern suburbs reached 25 infections, bringing the country's total infection number to 27,792, with 907 deaths reported since the start of the pandemic.

"We are taking a fair and objective approach to this, we don't go in with preconceived ideas from an investigative point of view", he said.

There are 37 active cases in SA.

Dr Spurrier said the elderly woman's case "came out of the blue, suddenly in the middle of the night".

"If we hadn't had that done, we would have found out about this in about two or three weeks and we would have had widespread community transmission by now".

Prof Spurrier revealed there were about 40 close contacts who authorities had not been able to get hold of directly, saying that was "a big push" for Saturday.

Dr Spurrier said 5400 contacts or close contacts of the cluster remain in quarantine.

Premier Steven Marshall first thanked South Australians for their for their co-operation and spirit during the "particularly hard week" for the state.

Premier Steven Marshall said 19,000 coronavirus tests had been conducted on Friday - up from the usual 2000 or 3000.

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