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SA to reconsider Term 2 school mask mandate

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Health Minister Chris Picton says he is hopeful that the state’s Emergency Management Council will reach a decision this morning on whether to scrap the mask mandate in schools ahead of the start of Term 2 on Monday.

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Picton told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that the council would discuss advice from SA Health and the Education Department before deciding whether to remove the mandate.

He said an increase in the number of vaccinated school-aged children gave the government confidence that it could remove the mask requirement, but there was a “tricky balance” that had to be considered.

“Hopefully we’ll be in a position to be able to make a decision on that,” he said.

“We’re still obviously a little bit less than a week away from when school returns, so we do have a bit of time.”

South Australia yesterday recorded 3175 new COVID-19 cases – a jump from the 2816 infections recorded the day before, despite hospitalisations dropping slightly by nine.

The state’s COVID-19 death toll has risen to 325, following six new deaths reported on Monday, including a man in his 70s, two men in their 80s, two women in their 80s and a woman in her 90s.

But Premier Peter Malinauskas told reporters on Monday that the state was still on track to lift quarantine rules for close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases from 12.01am on Saturday.

“So far they’re (case numbers) doing what we expected, in fact, in many instances better than what we expected and that’s a good thing,” he said.

From Saturday, April 30, close contacts of COVID-19 cases will no longer be required to isolate and will instead have to undertake five government-supplied rapid antigen tests over seven days.

They will also be required to wear a mask when leaving the home and banned from high-risk settings such as hospitals, correctional services and aged and disability care.

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