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South Australia lockdown sparked by pizza shop worker’s ‘lies’



S

outh Australia went into a state-wide lockdown after a pizza bar worker linked to the outbreak lied to contact tracers, authorities have said. 

The state announced the urgent shutdown for six days on Wednesday after a cluster with 36 infections was detected.

One man who tested positive told contact tracers that he had bought a pizza at the venue tied to the outbreak, Woodville Pizza Bar in Adelaide, where a worker had tested positive. 

Believing the man had only been in the premises for a brief time with a short exposure, officials feared thousands could be infected and that the infection was highly contagious. 

But the state’s premier Steven Marshall said it later emerged that the man “deliberately misled” contact tracers and had actually worked several shifts at the restaurant, alongside the worker who tested positive. 

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South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announces restrictions being eased in South Australia after a lie given to contact tracers 

/ Getty Images )

“To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement,” Marshall said.

“The 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.”

State officials said they would lift the lockdown on Saturday – three days earlier than planned – after recording only three new cases on Friday. Two cases were family members of the first pizza worker and the third was an elderly woman in a care home.

South Australia to go into 6-day virus lockdown

Mr Marshall admitted the state, which had suffered four Covid-19 deaths, would not have gone into its strict six-day lockdown if this information had been known but said at the time it was “the absolute correct decision.”

“We are still trying to locate thousands of people who may have had dangerous contact at the Woodville Pizza Bar,” he said. “Even more, now we know that this person lied. We need to find and isolate a whole new group of associates.”

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Police officer outside the Woodville Pizza Bar 

/ Getty Images )

He said family groups could now exercise outside of the home, effective immediately, and the stay-at-home order would be repealed from midnight Saturday.

But that would not include police action against the man because there was “no penalty associated with telling lies”, said South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens.

“This person’s failure to be truthful with contact tracers means his close associates – who we understand he’s had close contact with – haven’t been identified and are currently in the community,” Mr Stevens said.