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Spurrier overturns COVID-19 exemptions for Port Adelaide families

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A rogue SA Health worker inappropriately granted 11 relatives of Port Adelaide Football Club players exemptions to come to South Australia from Victoria, health officials revealed today.

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Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said this afternoon the exemptions should not have occurred because they did not fall under the usual reasons of compassionate or medical grounds.

“This was an inappropriate decision by one member of the SA health exemption committee,” she said.

“Our normal process is that we would have a full panel meeting.

“Our health exemptions really should be people with compelling compassionate reasons.”

Five of those family members are already here in hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Spurrier has revoked the exemptions for the other six relatives “because it is absolutely entirely inappropriate at this point in time”.

The family members had sought exemptions to come to Adelaide to watch their relatives play in Port’s upcoming finals campaign which will see them play two games at Adelaide Oval.

“I do apologise also to those families who felt that they may be able to come to South Australia and it may obviously be an inconvenience to them if they’d already organised flights and such like but it is very important that we are consistent in granting exemptions,” she said.

The SA Health worker who made the decision has been “counselled” and Spurrier says she will personally make sure that processes going forward are more consistent.

“This doesn’t reflect a lack of inappropriate decision-making at all by our exemption panel – it is simply a mistake that was made by one member of SA Health,” Spurrier said.

It’s understood the players and families involved petitioned SA Health directly and that the request was not made by the Port Adelaide Football Club.

A club spokesman directed inquiries to SA Health, telling InDaily: “The club had no involvement in facilitating the request at all.”

Premier Steven Marshall was earlier today asked if he was aware of such an exemption for the families of finals-bound Port Adelaide players, responding that all such matters were decided by SA Health.

“They look at the circumstances of all the individual applications,” he said.

“Increasingly we are finding opportunities where we can bring people in for a compassionate reason and put specific constraints around their time here in SA – but I certainly haven’t heard of anything [like that].”

Asked if he would consider such an exemption worthy, he said: “No, I wouldn’t think so, but… this is something which is up to SA Health.”

Spurrier also revealed two new cases of coronavirus in South Australia – a man and woman in their 20s who had returned from overseas.

They came into Adelaide from Doha on Sunday.

They have a young child who has so far tested negative.

They are all in hotel quarantine.

A security guard at the hotel is now also in quarantine.

“When this family had additional tests done last evening one of the security guards that was there helping out was unfortunately too close to where that procedure was done,” Spurrier said.

“I do apologise directly to that hotel security guard who was doing a fabulous job but was unfortunately put in that situation of not being entirely safe.”

These two new active cases bring the total number of cases in SA to 468.

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