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SA cases climb as close contact rules face review


South Australia has recorded another four COVID-19-related deaths and a jump in cases as authorities prepare this afternoon to review the state’s mandatory isolation rule for close contacts.

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Today’s 4500 cases are up from 4079 infections reported on Thursday and 4256 on Wednesday. The increase comes despite a 13.7 per cent decrease in testing over the last 24 hours.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 has also risen from 241 to 246. There are 10 people in intensive care and two on a ventilator.

Today’s deaths include three men in their 70s and one man in his 80s.

There have now been 310 people to die with COVID-19 in South Australia, including 306 since the state’s borders opened on November 23 last year.

It comes as authorities prepare to review South Australia’s mandatory seven-day isolation for close contacts this afternoon at a fast-tracked Emergency Management Council meeting.

Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT and now Queensland have all scrapped close contact isolation requirements this week, prompting calls from industry groups in South Australia for the State Government to follow suit.

But Premier Peter Malinauskas – who agreed to bring forward Tuesday’s EMC meeting to 4pm today – said it was possible authorities agree to keep South Australia’s current arrangements in place.

“I don’t want to unnecessarily escalate expectations, I don’t want South Australians who don’t have cause for connection to the health system to think that it’s all tickety-boo, because it’s not,” he told ABC Radio this morning.

“What I do want to do is make sure that our judgements our considered [and] consistent with the evidence that is brought before us.”

Malinauskas said it was a “big decision to make” but he was “determined, where we can, to have a degree of national consistency”.

“We’re calling a meeting because if we can make a change, we will,” he said.

“But I don’t want to be presumptuous about what the outcome of that meeting will be.”

Malinauskas has previously flagged that any relaxation of close contact rules will be accompanied by other “risk mitigation measures” such as requirements for regular rapid testing, mask wearing and bans from high-risk settings.

Victoria and New South Wales are requiring close contacts to return five negative rapid tests over seven days. The testing kits are supplied by the government.

School mask mandates for adults and students in years 7 to 12 will be reviewed at next Tuesday’s regularly scheduled EMC meeting.

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