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New restrictions on gatherings, venues as SA "faces a second wave" of COVID-19

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South Australia will reimpose a series of coronavirus restrictions from midnight tonight, including caps on gatherings and the closure of community sport and gyms, while people are advised to work from home and avoid unnecessary travel, as authorities declare the state now faces a possible second wave of COVID-19.

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Premier Steven Marshall said this afternoon that South Australia had not recorded any new positive cases linked to the “Parafield Cluster” since this morning’s announcements, but authorities had decided to impose a series of restrictions as a hard-line measure against the spread of coronavirus.

There were 18 new coronavirus cases reported in South Australia today, including 13 linked to what has been dubbed the “Parafield Cluster”, which started when a worker at a medi-hotel in the city, believed to be Peppers on Waymouth, became infected and transmitted the disease to their extended family. The total number of cases linked to the cluster remains at 17, including cases reported yesterday.

The other five cases reported today were returning travellers from overseas.

The 18 cases range from a one-year-old to a man aged in his 80s.

Two of the positive cases reported today are in a stable condition at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, while the other 15 are currently quarantining in medi-hotels.

The restrictions to be enforced from midnight tonight and likely to be in place for two weeks include:

The State Government has also advised people to:

Public schools will remain open.

All inbound international flights to South Australia have been suspended at the state’s request for the remainder of this week to prioritise local quarantine requirements.

“It’s fair to say that we are now facing our biggest test to date, but we can and we must rise to this new challenge,” Marshall said.

“The next 24 hours will be critical, but we are not going to wait for the situation to deteriorate.

“I want to assure all South Australians that we are working around the clock to stay ahead of this cluster.

“We will rise to this challenge.”

Testing clinics at Victoria Park, Elizabeth, Parafield Airport and Magill will remain open from 8am until 8pm every night. The state’s contact tracing team will receive additional resources to cope with the increase in demand.

It comes as queues formed outside testing clinics across the state, with some people forced to wait hours to get tested.

There were 1873 tests conducted yesterday and chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said authorities are anticipating a “very, very large number of tests done today”.

Marshall has accepted a Federal Government offer for increased Australian Defence Force support to help the state contain the spread of COVID-19.

Spurrier said the number of cases linked to the Parafield Cluster has remained at 17.

The cluster includes three children who initially tested negative for COVID-19, but because their parents were COVID-positive and they had symptoms, health authorities are treating them as positive cases.

“What we are facing is indeed a second wave, but we haven’t got the second wave yet,” Spurrier said.

“We are in very, very early days, so the first thing we need to do from my team’s point of view is the testing, contact tracing and getting people into quarantine very, very quickly.”

Spurrier said South Australia had learnt from Victoria’s experience of containing coronavirus clusters and the state had “robust plans in place” to manage up to 100 new coronavirus cases a day.

“We want to go hard, go early, but we will be reviewing it (restrictions) and we are saying two weeks but it may be possible to lift that earlier,” she said.

Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms, including fever or chills, an acute respiratory infection, loss of smell or alteration in the sense of taste, is urged to get tested immediately. 

SA Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens said police would work with the community to help them understand the new restrictions.

“Using a big stick won’t deliver the results we’re looking for,” he said.

“But if people do the wrong thing and they do so knowingly then they should expect that there should be a sanction.”

He said there were currently 96 police officers in quarantine awaiting COVID-19 test results after monitoring medi-hotels.

“It’s not something that we didn’t envisage, in fact, in the early stages of COVID-19 our primary focus was making sure that we’re able to maintain service delivery in the event that our workforce was being quarantined or suffering from the virus.”

People who are forced to quarantine might be eligible to receive a SA cluster isolation payment of $300.

A separate Commonwealth-funded payment of $1500 is also available to people impacted by a coronavirus cluster.

Western Australia will provide contact tracing assistance to South Australia.

There are currently 34 active coronavirus cases in South Australia, bringing the state’s total to 544.

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