South Australia was plunged into lockdown for seven days at 6pm on Tuesday after it recorded a fifth case of Covid-19 in less than two days.
Premier Steven Marshall said health authorities had confirmed the highly contagious Delta variant had infiltrated the state.
The bad news left the government with no alternative but to impose a hard lockdown.
“We have always had the situation where we go hard and we go early, it has put us in a very enviable position throughout this pandemic,” Mr Marshall said.
The news comes after two new cases were announced on Tuesday morning.
People getting tested at the 24-hour Victoria Park Covid-19 testing station in Adelaide. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Emma BrasierSource:News Corp Australia
Just five reasons to leave home
There will be only five reasons to leave the home. The reasons are:
– Care and compassionate grounds
– Essential work
– Buying essential goods, such as groceries
– Medical reasons, including vaccination and testing
– Exercise, but limited to household groups. You must stay within 2.5km of home and take 90 minutes or less
Mr Marshall said although he appreciated the inconvenience for regional South Australians, the entire state needed to be locked down until authorities could get a clear picture of the virus’ spread.
He said the alternative would be “catastrophic” for the state.
“What we’ve seen in Victoria for example is a very rapid movement out of greater Melbourne,” he said.
“We now worryingly have a case up in Mildura, which has put in some real concerns for us on the other side of the border in the Riverland.
“This current variant is very concerning so until we have much clearer idea of how widespread this is, we have to take every single precaution to keep our state safe.”
South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier announces level 4 Restrictions in South Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly BarnesSource:News Corp Australia
‘This is the time not to move around’
An 81-year-old man and two of his close contacts – his daughter and a man, both in their 50s – tested positive for the virus on Monday.
The fourth case, a man in his 60s, was a close contact of the 81-year-old and was announced on Tuesday morning.
The fifth case is a man in his 60s who picked up the virus at a Greek restaurant on Halifax St, Adelaide, on Saturday. His case was announced later on Tuesday.
“This fifth case is far more worrying,” Mr Marshall said.
Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said the fifth case attended a birthday event at The Greek where another positive case was present.
Professor Spurrier said anyone who was present at the restaurant on Saturday night needed to enter isolation and get tested immediately.
She said health authorities were worried about the potential spread at that site as people often talked loudly and sang at birthday parties.
“This is the time to stay put. This is the time not to move around,” Professor Spurrier said.
“The virus doesn’t have legs … if we stay put we will be able to get on top of it.”
She said it was still to be confirmed if the Delta variant was linked to the NSW outbreak, but that it was likely.
The 81-year-old man had completed hotel quarantine in Sydney after returning from Argentina with his daughter and flew to Adelaide July 8.
He presented to Modbury Hospital on Sunday, which was forced into lockdown after his positive test.
Professor Spurrier said 25 hospital staff would be put into hotel quarantine and 27 patients would be transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, which was where the infected elderly man was.
Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein has since announced the island state would declare the whole of SA a high-risk location from 4pm, effectively closing the border.
– with Jack Paynter and Heath Parkes-Hupton