Current Issue #488

Restrictions reintroduced for South Australia as Victoria declares 'state of disaster'

Grace Emily Hotel

Restrictions for licensed venues and the home will be tightened once more. The precautionary move comes amid concerns that rising numbers over the border may result in the “seeding” of local clusters.

Today Premier Steven Marshall confirmed that the gradual easing in restrictions that South Australia has enjoyed over the past two-and-a-half months has hit its first major snag, as our Victorian neighbours adjust to life under a second round of lockdown.

“We’re extraordinarily concerned about the Victorian outbreak and the potential for seeding in other jurisdictions; New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia,” Marshall said at today’s briefing. “We are concerned about seeding we are concerned about community transmission, and we are absolutely focussed on keeping ahead of the game.”

To that end, from midnight on Tuesday the current cap on visitors within the home will be cut from 50 to 10. Additionally, licensed venues will now only be able to serve alcohol to seated patrons with or without food service – a change to the current settings, which in June eased to allow patrons to do almost everything except dance while drinking.

This will prove disheartening to many businesses, particularly live music venues, that in recent weeks have provisionally reopened for the first time since March. However, the recent fining of two west end nightclubs probably did little to inspire confidence in the ability of businesses to successfully enforce social distancing directions.

Marshall also flagged that the government was “looking very closely” at other measures including density arrangements – which currently enforce a 50 per cent capacity cap and 2 metres per square person – as well as the current conditions placed on football matches and fitness studios.

This latest update comes as South Australia records two new positive results, bringing Friday’s overall 450 count up to 455, with eight currently active cases. Both are men in their 50s, with one a close contact of a young woman identified over the weekend, and the other arriving in Adelaide on a repatriation flight from New Delhi on 1 August. While Professor Nicola Spurrier downplayed the broader community risk of the former – who has been quarantined in a hotel since his arrival – the other case is part of what is now being officially designated as a cluster.

The young woman to whom the first man was linked prompted Thebarton Senior College and Roma Mitchell Secondary College to be closed on Sunday for deep cleaning as contact tracing teams work to identify any South Australian residents who may need to self-isolate or seek testing. According to Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier, SA Health is currently monitoring 95 people who have been in contact with known cases.

“This is obviously quite disappointing for South Australia,” Spurrier said. “This absolutely reflects the situation in Victoria; we have extremely tight border restrictions, but this is a reflection of how transmissible this virus is and how quickly it is spread.”

Today Victoria announced 429 new cases and 13 deaths overnight, continuing the state’s fortnight-long run of daily case numbers in the hundreds – peaking on Thursday with 723 new cases. Metropolitan Melbourne entered ‘stage four’ restrictions from 6pm on Sunday, which includes a suite of ‘stay at home’ measures such as an 8pm – 5am curfew, limits on movement beyond a 5km radius outside one’s home, and a ban on organised sport, weddings and household visitors (with the exclusion of intimate partners).

“We do not want to see the types of lockdowns that are occurring in Victoria return to South Australia – this would be devastating to business, to every person’s quality of life,” Marshall said today.

As of Monday 3 August there have been a total of 455 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Australia, with eight active cases in the state. 246,000 tests have been undertaken in South Australia as of 2 August. Readers are advised to consult SA Health’s website for the latest information.

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
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Walter is a writer and editor living on Kaurna Country.

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