South Australia will introduce widespread restrictions but has stopped short of a full lockdown, after a traveller and two close contacts tested positive for COVID-19.
The daughter of an 81-year-old man who returned from overseas via New South Wales has now tested positive, while a man in his 50s who is also a close contact was later confirmed to have been diagnosed.
“Two close contacts have tested positive late this afternoon, a man and a woman both in their 50s,” SA Health said.
The SA government has announced level 4 internal restrictions from midnight tonight in response to the spread of the virus.
They include a ban on indoor dining, the closure of non-essential retail, the closure of gyms and indoor fitness facilities, the cancellation of contact sport and the closure of personal care services.
Density requirements at indoor venues will be reduced to one person per four square metres, dining will be outdoor only and private gatherings will be capped at 10 people.
Masks will be required for high-risk settings, public transport and shared indoor spaces.
Events with COVID management plans will also be cancelled, which includes major sports events, art events and festivals.
“This is not a lockdown, but it is clearly significant restrictions on public activities within our community,” SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said.
The measures come after an 81-year-old man tested positive in the early hours of Monday morning.
His daughter initially tested negative but had since returned a “weak positive”, health authorities said.
“The daughter has returned a positive sample so this has very significantly escalated our concern with regards to this case,” SA Premier Steven Marshall said.
“The positive result for the daughter is very significantly increasing our anxiety at the moment and we have no choice but to put in enhanced restrictions in place as of midnight tonight. These will be statewide.”
Exposure site list grows
The government said the restrictions would be reviewed on Friday.
“We only have one chance to get this right, we are very concerned about this situation,” Mr Marshall said.
“If we can ease these restrictions we will, but if wait until we get all of the information, it can often be way too late.
“We don’t want the long-term heavy restrictions we’re seeing in other parts of the world, other parts of the country.”
ABC News: Michael Clements
Mr Marshall said passengers on public transport services would be required to wear masks, which would also be mandatory in “shared indoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained”.
“Indoor fitness facilities will be closed, [there will be] no team or club contact sport, and personal care services are closed,” he said.
“We will also close all non-essential retail.
“This means we can still continue to go to the pharmacy, we can still continue to go get our groceries and key items that are required.
“I know that these restrictions are going to put a heavy toll on businesses and on individuals, it’s going to frustrate plans that people have already put in place but they are necessary.”
The 81-year-old man is believed to have the Delta variant and returned a positive result in the early hours of this morning after presenting to Modbury Hospital with symptoms late on Sunday.
ABC News: Eric Tlozek
More than a dozen “primary close contacts” have been identified, several of whom have so far tested negative including the man’s grandson, who is a teacher at Elizabeth Vale School.
The man’s daughter is currently in Tom’s Court medi-hotel, which accommodates positive cases.
“My understanding is that [the 81-year-old] has been in Argentina for some time, his daughter went over, she’s been there since February and then she travelled back with him,” Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said.
“She has either caught this from her father and she’s in the early stages of the infection, and that’s possibly the most likely scenario here.
“The other scenario is that she was initially infected and she’s at the end of her infection and she passed it onto her father.”
SA Health has identified a list of exposure sites in locations including Golden Grove and Modbury, but Professor Spurrier said that list had now grown.
“At the last count there were somewhere between 10 and 15 exposure sites,” Professor Spurrier said.
“Some of those, which are already up on our website, are places where there would be potentially quite a lot of people going. We need to be getting hold of all of those people, getting all of those people tested for those exposure sites.
“That’s going to take a number of days.”