South Australia imposes strict new restrictions despite recording no new community Covid cases – here’s what you need to know
- South Australia launches crackdown from midnight as a ‘pre-emptive measure’
- Masks will again be mandatory at certain key locations under the new rules
- Private gatherings will be limited to 150 people and singing and dancing banned
- The state had no new community Covid cases but two in hotel quarantine
South Australia are bringing in sweeping new restrictions amid fears three Sydney removalists may have spread Covid through the state.
The new regulations will come in from midnight on Thursday despite no new community Covid cases having been detected in South Australia.
The two new SA cases announced on Thursday were both in hotel quarantine.
But Premier Steven Marshall announced crackdown as a ‘pre-emptive measure’, he said, in a bid to get ahead of the disease before it could spread.
Under the new rules, masks will be required in aged care facilities and at locations like hairdressers.
Private gatherings will be limited to just 150 people while singing, dancing and shisha have also been banned.
Customer numbers in licensed premises will also be restricted to just 50 per cent capacity.
Earlier in the week the state also announced truck and freight drivers coming into SA will now need to undergo mandatory testing.
Mr Marshall added: ‘The deteriorating situation around the country is a major wakeup call for South Australia.
‘We don’t want lockdowns here so we’re asking South Australian to co-operate.
‘We are very concerned about the transmission which occurred at the MCG so we need to take action to protect SA.’
It follows a worrying trail of exposure sites left by an infected team of removalists who travelled from Sydney to Melbourne and then on to Adelaide, spreading the disease in their wake.
The removalist crew set off from Covid-ravaged western Sydney on July 8 stopping at a Hungry Jacks and a Caltex service station in Kalkallo before dropping off a load of furniture to a home in Craigieburn on Melbourne’s northern outskirts.
They then travelled to Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s west to the third floor of the Ariele Apartments and picked up a set of furniture bound for Adelaide.
Later that evening on July 8, the removalists left Melbourne and travelled to Ballan, near Ballarat where they visited a Mobil service station and a McDonald’s for food and one had a shower.
The following morning, on July 9, they headed to McLaren Vale in Adelaide, where one of the crew was informed by NSW Health that they were a primary close contact of another positive case back in Sydney.
All three crew members then headed back to Sydney on July 10, but stopped off at a Shell service station and the adjoining Coolabah Tree cafe in Tailem Bend, South Australia, and a Hungry Jack’s in Marulan, NSW.
It was later that day one of the crew returned a positive test. Then on July 11, a second crew member was also confirmed to be infected.
Victoria Health has been desperately trying to map out all the possible locations that may have been exposed to the disease by the removalists, but their efforts have been hampered.
The state’s Covid response commmander Jeroen Weimar said the information the trio gave to contact tracers was ‘not as crisp and clear and consistent’ as it should be, with two not believed to speak English.
‘I don’t have a complete accurate track in terms of exactly where they stayed,’ Mr Weimar said.
‘My understanding at this point in time is that they stayed in their cab as part of their protocols.
‘Any other locations they may have stopped at we’re still trying to track down definitively.’
South Australia currently has 16 active cases of Covid and experts are still trying to trace the cause of one patient who may have contracted the virus from another guest who was staying at the same quarantine hotel.
Health authorities are trying to figure out how a man in his 40s caught coronavirus inside his room on the top floor of the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Adelaide.
One theory is that the virus spread through aerosol transmission, which means the man could have inhaled Covid-19 particles from a patient in his 20s who was staying in the opposite room.
SA Health are scrambling to track down 14 other guests who were in isolation at the hotel at the same time as the new case – ten of whom has since travelled interstate.
State laws say all travellers must get a Covid test three days after leaving quarantine.
A further five guests from the hotel’s 19th floor have been ordered to stay in quarantine until the situation is resolved.