In a move that surprised many people due to its speed and the limited number of infections involved, the entire state of South Australia went into lockdown from midnight last night.
Pubs, cafes, schools, universities and most businesses are among those closed as SA – which was very successful in limiting its first-wave outbreak – rushes to create what the Premier has called a ‘circuit-breaker’ to avoid a significant new outbreak of the coronavirus that could end up crippling the state in the same way that it did much of Victoria recently.
Regional travel is not allowed
There is also no regional travel allowed, while weddings, funerals and outdoor exercise are banned.
Following the six-day lockdown there will be a further week of tough restrictions, Steven Marshall said.
“Our concern is that if we don’t have this circuit-breaker … we will not stay ahead of this,” he warned in a media briefing. “There is no second chance to stop a second wave. We are at a critical point, but we will get through this.”
Health dept. advice followed
At the time of writing there were 36 confirmed cases, with 22 of those directly linked to the original outbreak at Parafield, a suburb of Adelaide.
Marshall said he had spoken to the Prime Minister and the Department of Health and the advice from health officials was an immediate lockdown.
“This is a particularly sneaky strain of this virus,” the Premier said. “A highly contagious strain … and if we don’t get on top of that very, very quickly it will get away from us and that will be disastrous for us in South Australia.”
Residents must stay in one place
Professor Nicola Spurrier, the state’s Chief Health Officer, added: “We want people, for the next six days, to go home, make sure they have got their supplies and to really spend as much time in that one place as they possibly can, leaving just for essential food, essential medical requirements and the like.”
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas has spoken out in support of the Government’s announcement.
“Doing this the South Australian way means we’re going to look after each other as much as we look after ourselves,” he said. “We’re going to fight for each other, not against each other.”