The frightening assertion that South Australia was suffering a virulent strain of coronavirus unseen in Australia was based on a ‘disgraceful’ lie by an infected pizza bar worker.
Premier Steven Marshall announced the strict lockdown imposed on the state, which was based on the false information, will end three days early on Saturday, with millions of residents immediately let out to exercise.
The revelation came as the Parafield cluster, in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, climbed to 25 infections – with three new cases reported on Friday.
Health officials feared a super strain of coronavirus had been unleashed in Adelaide after it was apparently transmitted on a pizza box from an infected worker to a customer.
But suspicious contact tracers have since discovered this was a lie, and that the customer – who also worked at a quarantine hotel – was in fact employed at Woodville Pizza Bar in Adelaide and worked closely with another positive case.
‘To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement,’ Mr Marshall said.
A worker at Woodville Pizza Bar in Adelaide (pictured) lied to contact tracers, authorities revealed on Friday
‘This selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation.
‘His actions have affected businesses, individuals, family groups and is completely and utterly unacceptable.’
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens revealed the positive COVID-19 case who lied to contact tracers claimed they had purchased a pizza from the restaurant.
‘Where in fact they were working there and had been working there for several shifts,’ he said.
‘That clearly changes the circumstances and had this person been truthful to the contact tracing teams, we would not have gone into a six-day lockdown.’
Health authorities are seen testing people in cars at Victoria Park in Adelaide following outbreak in the city’s northern suburbs
Health officials had feared that if the virus could transmit on a pizza box from worker to customer, it could be a new, super strain of the disease.
But in fact, the two men came into close contact with each other as they both worked at the takeaway, meaning it could easily transmit between them in the usual way.
It is not known what consequences the man will face as there is ‘there is no penalty associated with telling lies’.
‘The emergency management act requires people to provide information on request. There is no penalty for failing to truthfully answer those questions,’ Commissioner Stevens said.
Health authorities could not elaborate on the man and his specific reasons for lying.
Premier Steven Marshall announced on Friday the strict lockdown imposed on the state, which was based on the false information, will end at midnight on Saturday
South Australia will revert to a series of similar restrictions imposed at the beginning of the week from midnight on Saturday.
Venues are allowed to have 100 guests, with one person per four square metres and table bookings limited to 10.
Funerals will restart with 50 people in attendance, while weddings can host 150 guests. There will be no dancing.
Religious ceremonies will be restricted to 100 people and 10 people can come together for private gatherings.
Masks are mandatory for hairdressers and beauty therapists but residents will no longer be required to wear a face covering when in public.
Gyms will also open as restrictions ease at 11.59pm on Saturday and students will return to school on Monday.
Pictured: Glenelg beach is seen deserted during South Australia’s coronavirus lockdown on Thursday
Rundle Mall in Adelaide is empty and closed to shoppers on Thursday as state attempts to control coronavirus cluster
From Friday, households will now be allowed to exercise in groups.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said there were three additional COVID-19 cases recorded in South Australia on Friday – taking the Parafield cluster to 25.
Professor Spurrier said the positive infections were already in quarantine as they had been identified as close contacts.
SA Health have also identified 44 suspected cases. There are 4,500 close contacts or contacts of close contacts in self-isolation.
Professor Spurrier said the number of confirmed infections are expected to rise over the next few days but said people should not be alarmed.
She said efforts were continuing to put a ‘double ring-fence’ around the outbreak to limit the risk of more widespread community transmission.
SA conducted a record 14,459 tests on Thursday.
The eased restrictions come after authorities clarified who falls under the category of ‘essential workers’ overnight.
Pictured: A pig statue wears a mask in deserted Rundle Mall, Adelaide, on Friday
ESSENTIAL WORKERS WHO CAN LEAVE THEIR HOME DURING SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S LOCKDOWN
The updated list includes:
This content was originally published here.