South Australia is lifting its lockdown days from six days earlier, after revealing it was imposed based on the lies of a pizza shop employee.
Prime Minister Steven Marshall said 14,400 people were tested across the state on Thursday as he tried to crack down on the “dangerous” Parafield cluster that triggered the lockdown.
The epidemic increased by three on Friday, with new cases in people who are all among the thousands in quarantine. There are also 44 other suspected infections.
But a clearly angry prime minister also attacked a pizza shop worker at the center of the outbreak that has infected 25 people in northern Adelaide.
“Their story didn’t match. We pursued them. We now know that they lied, ”he said.
The man works as a security guard in a medical hotel in the city. AS Police Commissioner Grant Stephens said he claimed to have bought a pizza at the Woodville restaurant, but that he was in fact a worker there – increasing his exposure to the coronavirus.
Earlier this week, South Africa’s health authorities issued an alert for the Woodville pizza bar that included anyone who had even bought take-out from it.
Mr. Marshall said the worker deliberately misled the contact tracers.
“To say that I rant against this person’s actions is an absolute understatement. The selfish actions of this individual put our whole state in a very difficult situation, ”he said.
“His actions have affected businesses, individuals, family groups and are totally and utterly unacceptable.”
Mr Stephens said South Australians would immediately be able to resume exercising away from home in family groups. From midnight Saturday, the state will begin to revert to the restrictions it had at the start of the week.
Schools and gymnasiums will be able to reopen, and most people will be able to return to work as stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Masks remain strongly encouraged for South Australians, but are not mandatory.
“Thanks to the work of the South Australian Police Force, we were able to uncover this lie and lift these restrictions as quickly as possible,” said Marshall.
“What we learned from today’s revelation is that there is a whole group of other people, other associates, that we need to find and quarantine as quickly as possible. And that work will continue, immediately, with the kind of additional expertise coming from the police.
Mr Marshall said the Parafield cluster remained dangerous.
Mr Stephens said the worker would not be fined as there was no penalty for not telling the truth.
South Africa’s director of public health Nicola Spurrier said authorities expected to find more cases in the Parafield outbreak, despite the revelations on Friday.
“It’s because we got to the start of this cluster so early, and how people got quarantined, and when we first tested them, they hadn’t actually turned positive,” a- she declared.
“But we expect that to happen now over the next few days.”