South Australia will be plunged into a six-day hard lockdown with residents not even allowed to exercise outdoors as the state desperately tries to control a new supercharged strain of coronavirus.
Premier Steven Marshall announced on Wednesday the state would enter lockdown at midnight to combat a ‘particularly sneaky’ and ‘highly contagious’ mutation of COVID-19 which has infected two more people, taking the cluster in Adelaide to 22 cases.
The mutation has a very short incubation period of 24 hours or less and SA Health have observed a number of COVID-19 positive patients with little symptoms or none at all.
The lockdown measures to combat the second wave will be among the toughest in the world, along with countries such as Argentina, Israel and Venezuela.
Masks will be mandatory with only one person per household allowed to leave their home for groceries or medical treatment.
Schools and universities will shut, while restaurants, cafes and pubs will close and will even be banned from selling takeaway food.
Weddings will be halted and funerals stopped while factories and the construction industry will freeze.
Premier Steven Marshall (pictured) announced on Wednesday the state would enter lockdown at midnight to combat a ‘particularly sneaky’ and ‘highly contagious’ strain of COVID-19
Shoppers flocked to the supermarket after six-day lockdown was announced on Wednesday
WHAT WILL CLOSE:
Universities and all schools except for children of essential workers and vulnerable children
Pubs, cafes, coffee shops, food courts and takeaway food
Elective surgery except for urgent operations and cancer treatment
Open inspections and auctions for real estate
All outdoor sport and physical activity
Regional travel is not approved
Aged care and disability residential care will be an lockdown
Factories other than food and medical products will be closed except for where it is necessary for them to remain open to prevent damage to machinery
The construction industry
Holiday homes will not be available for lease or rental
Weddings and funerals
Masks will be required in all areas outside the home
Only one person per household once a day is allowed to access groceries
Masks will be mandatory in South Australia following the outbreak. Pictured: Two women in face masks queue up for a coronavirus test in Adelaide on Tuesday
ADELAIDE’S VIRUS OUTBREAK
* The Parafield cluster has grown by two cases to 22 but seven more people are awaiting test results.
* More than 4000 people are in quarantine or home isolation.
* The outbreak was sparked by a woman who worked as a cleaner in the Peppers Hotel, one of Adelaide’s quarantine facilities, who may have picked up the virus from a surface.
* The first case was identified when an 81-year-old woman tested positive at the Lyell McEwin Hospital on Saturday.
* Thousands have flocked to testing stations around Adelaide with more than 5000 swabs taken on Monday and more than 6000 on Tuesday.
* Staffing and hours to be expanded at testing stations with SA’s contact tracing resources also boosted.
Elective surgery – except for urgent operations and cancer treatment – will stop and aged care and disability residents will be kept in lockdown.
Regional travel will be banned, with anyone currently on holiday having until midnight to determine where they will stay for the next six days.
Fears of panic buying have already begun with shoppers spotted rushing to the supermarkets.
Premier Marshall said the restrictions will be ‘challenging’ for South Australians but are necessary.
‘We are at a critical point but we will get through this,’ he said.
‘We may be physically distanced but South Australians have never been more united. Together, we will get through this because South Australians are strong, resilient and united.’
Chief health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the new strain of COVID-19 was faster moving with a shorter incubation period than previous strains seen in the state making it more difficult to contain.
‘It has a very, very short incubation period,’ she said.
‘That means when somebody gets exposed, it is taking 24 hours or even less for that person to become infectious to others.
‘Other characteristic of the cases we have seen so far as they have had minimal symptoms and sometimes no symptoms but have been able to pass it other people.’
Residents are seen waiting for a coronavirus test in Adelaide on Tuesday, following an outbreak in the northern suburbs
Pictured: A quarantined hotel quest on the balcony of the Peppers on Waymouth Hotel waves on Wednesday. COVID-19 spread into the community after a cleaner at the Peppers Hotel came in contact with the virus. As a result, all those in quarantine at the hotel have been told they will be moved and are required to start their 14-day isolation period again
WHAT WILL REMAIN OPEN:
- Critical infrastructure including water, power and telecommunications
- Supermarkets will remain open to provide access to food and essential product. There will be specific access for vulnerable members of the community to ensure that they can access goods and services
- Medical services including for mental health
- Public transport
- The airport and freight services including career services
- Petrol stations, access to financial institutions and post offices
- Mining, smelting and large factories will be able to remain open but only those parts of the facilities that will need to operate to ensure continuity of service delivery or to prevent damage to the plant
- Childcare will be available only for families of essential workers
- Minimum operations of government including local government will be permitted to operate
- Veterinary surgeons
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens told South Australians there was no need for panic buying despite shelves already running bare.
‘There is no need for people to rush to supermarkets and if you do go shopping this afternoon, you should expect that you will be managed by staff at the supermarkets and we will have police officers on standby to attend if we see any civil disorder and we would take action,’ he said.
‘This is completely unacceptable. No need for panic buying!’
Professor Spurrier said there was ‘no time to wait’ in explaining her rationale behind the six-day lockdown which will be followed by another eight days of eased restrictions.
‘If I thought about this all day and then told the police commissioner, the premier, tonight, he would already be 12 hours behind so we really need to act fast un