Southern Australia’s six-day “circuit breaker” suspension will be suspended, officials said on Friday, blaming a pizzeria worker who misled contact trackers about how he got the virus.
Premiere Steven Marshall stated that a tough lockdown for the state’s nearly two million people would end late on Saturday, at least two days earlier than planned.
Marshall said a man who claimed to be a customer at a hotspot for pizzerias – leading authorities to believe the coronavirus strain was virulent enough to be transmitted via a takeaway box – was actually working there.
“One of the close contacts connected to the Woodville pizza bar deliberately misled our contact tracking team,” says Marshall. “Their story did not come together. We persecuted them. We now know they lied.”
It is unlikely that the man will face charges, police said. “The Emergency Act requires people to provide information upon request,” said Police Commissioner Grant Stevens. “There is no punishment for not answering these questions in a truthful way.”
“I think it’s obvious to say that this person’s actions have had a devastating effect on our society,” Stevens said. “The difficulties do not lose us.”
Red face authorities emphasized that the expensive lock-in had still been necessary – and that customers with pizzerias would still come for testing.
This sudden change in direction is based on new information we have received in relation to the Parafield Cluster. We understand that this may cause some confusion and will endeavor to provide you with information when it becomes available. See more: https://t.co/zAm1XSYGgP pic.twitter.com/83XhmiCoCi
– South Australia Police (@SAPoliceNews) November 20, 2020
On Wednesday, they ordered schools, shops, pubs, factories and even takeaway restaurants to close and home orders were issued to residents across the state.
Since then, tens of thousands of tests have not shown any new transfer of society and the cluster amounts to only 25 cases, leading to allegations that the authorities overreacted.
People in Adelaide and the rest of the state will be able to leave their homes immediately to exercise, and most other restrictions will be eased late on Saturday.
The country as a whole has been relatively successful in containing the virus, with only about 95 cases currently active.
The state of Victoria on Friday reported its 21st day with zero falls, a well-deserved reward for a marathon closure of the country’s second largest city, Melbourne.
(FRANCE WITH AFP AND REUTERS)