Coronavirus: South Australia lifts lockdown early after contact tracers misled | DW

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 22, 2020

South Australia's drastic six-day coronavirus lockdown was triggered by a "lie" to contact tracers from a man who tested positive and restrictions across the state are set to be lifted much sooner than first planned, authorities said on Friday.

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

However, she said officials are still working to get in touch with 40 close contacts. "I can also say that we have looked at those results and we still have no examples of community transmission in South Australia, in fact all of the cases we have identified, we can trace back to their origin", Mr Marshall said.

The new restrictions came into effect at 12:01 on Thursday 19 November, with all South Australians required to stay home for the next six days and only able to leave home for essential purposes.

Mr Stevens said it was "fair to say that had this person been more upfront with us we would not have instituted a six-day lockdown". That led authorities to wonder how contagious a strain must be for a man to have caught it from such limited exposure. However, when another team reviewed the information obtained during the interview, they found that there were many glaring holes in the answers he had provided.

SA has recorded three new Covid-19 cases today, all of which are in quarantine. Instead, police commissioner Stevens said, it later transpired that the man had actually been working there for "several shifts". Around 5,400 who were in close contact with the infected persons were placed under quarantine.

Will the man face criminal charges?

"To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement".

"We are absolutely livid with the actions of this individual and we will be looking very carefully at what consequences there [are] going to be", Mr Marshall added.

That is because, according to the state's police commissioner, Grant Stevens, there is "no penalty associated with telling lies".

South Australian authorities have announced that the lockdown will be lifted on Saturday at midnight and the ban on outdoor exercise and dog walking will be revoked too.

"The expert health advice we have received is that we are still managing a very unsafe cluster and although we are reducing those restrictions, we are still very concerned about this cluster".

"Everybody regrets the actions that we have had to take", he said.

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