Covid-19: South Australia to enter ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown

Publishedduration31 minutes agoRelated Topics

  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightKelly Barnesimage captionTesting efforts have been ramped up across South Australia

The state of South Australia will enter an immediate six-day lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus outbreak discovered days ago.

The state has detected 36 cases since a first infection was found in Adelaide on Sunday, the first community cases found in six months.

Authorities say the "circuit breaker" measures were necessary to stop the virus' spread "at the beginning".

Australia has previously also responded aggressively to small outbreaks.

Various state governments have at times closed parts of the economy, enforced border restrictions and other measures to stop the virus' spread.

The lockdown, to begin at midnight on Wednesday, comes just weeks after neighbouring state Victoria beat a second wave.

South Australia's restrictions from Thursday 19 November

  • People must stay home and cannot leave for exercise
  • All schools and universities closed except for children of essential workers
  • Shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs closed with no takeaway options
  • Bans on regional travel

There would be a further eight days of lesser restrictions following the "six day pause", officials said.

South Australia's Premier Stephen Marshall called on residents to "rise to the challenge again" to prevent the virus' further spread.

"We need a circuit breaker to stay ahead of this," he said. "We need breathing space for contact tracing to protect the elderly, to protect the vulnerable, to protect our entire community."

Australia, which has reported 907 deaths and about 28,000 cases had in recent weeks seen its cases drop to near zero after Victoria's successful suppression of the virus.

However that effort had required a stringent four-month lockdown of state capital Melbourne, where residents could not freely leave their homes and faced a curfew.

That outbreak – which caused about 800 deaths – had originated from a hotel quarantine breach.

South Australian authorities say the new outbreak has also come from hotel quarantine, after a cleaner became infected and spread it to people in the local community.

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