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SA flags more easing of COVID-19 restrictions

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Premier Steven Marshall says South Australians should have confidence that the state’s COVID-19 restrictions will ease this week as hospital admissions for the virus drop below 100 for the first time since early January.

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The COVID-Ready committee is set to meet tomorrow to discuss the latest suite of fortnightly eased restrictions after two weeks ago lifting a ban on stand-up drinking and buffets and scrapping density limits on outdoor seated venues.

South Australia recorded no COVID-19 deaths and 2089 cases on Tuesday, up from 1577 cases on Monday and 1688 on Sunday. There are more than 19,000 active cases across the state.

However, the number of people hospitalised with the virus has dropped to 97 – the first-time hospitalisations have been below 100 since January 3.

There are 13 people in intensive care and two on a ventilator.

Marshall said hospitalisations numbers were “very stable” having dropped from nearly 300 people last month.

“I think that should give every South Australian confidence that as we have the COVID-ready committee this week we’ll continue on that trajectory of reducing those restrictions, freeing up South Australia,” he told reporters yesterday.

“But I do emphasise that we cannot become complacent.”

Friday’s planned lift on restrictions is the last time restrictions are scheduled to be lifted before the March 19 state election.

Asked whether there was any scope to further ease restrictions after Friday but before the election, Marshall said: “What we’ve tried to do over the last six or eight weeks is ease the restrictions in two weekly blocks because that gives us the ability to look at what the effects of easing the restrictions have been.”

“Pleasingly, though, we’re seeing the number of people in hospital plummet, so that will give us even more confidence to reduce the restrictions later this week,” he said.

A one-person per two-square metre density cap remains in place for hospitality venues that allow stand-up drinking, as do mask mandates for high-risk venues, indoor public places and public transport.

Singing and dancing bans at public venues also remain in place as does a cap of 50 people for home gatherings and 150 for private functions.

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