'Lie' Told By Pizza Worker Led To One Of Australia’s Harshest Covid Lockdowns

The latest cluster of infections in South Australia has been linked to a returned traveller from the UK.

A drastic six-day lockdown in South Australia was triggered by a “lie” to contact tracers from a man who tested positive for Covid-19, state authorities have revealed.

Officials in the state said the case led to the harshest coronavirus lockdown yet in the state as contact tracers were initially led to believe a man was infected with a highly contagious strain of the virus with a much shorter incubation period.

In a shock announcement on Friday, South Australia state premier Steven Marshall said the six-day strict lockdown would be lifted earlier-than-expected, at midnight on Saturday, as the virus was not as contagious as initially thought.

Marshall reiterated it was still a “dangerous” cluster with 25 infections and about 4,500 close contacts in quarantine.

A security guard at a quarantine hotel, who also worked part-time at the Woodville Pizza Bar in the state capital of Adelaide, is believed to have been infected through a returned traveler from the UK.

A second worker, not identified by the authorities by name, at another quarantine hotel in the city also became infected.

Authorities said the man told contact tracers that he had only purchased a pizza from the same bar, when in fact they later discovered he worked several shifts there.

Local contact tracers worked on the premise that the man had contracted the virus from a very short exposure while buying pizza, leading them to believe he must have been exposed to a highly contagious strain.

“Had this person been truthful to the contact tracing teams, we would not have gone into a six-day lockdown,” Marshall told a news conference in Adelaide on Friday.

Contact tracers now need to find and isolate a whole new group of people who have been in contact with the man.

“There is an absolute need for us to move quickly over the next 24-36 hours to identify and locate these people so we know we have eliminated the risk of this particular strain spreading further into the community,” Marshall added.

The contact tracing team sat down and interviewed the worker, but after a review of his answers were left unsatisfied with his answers, South Australia police commissioner Grant Stevens said, speaking at the conference.

The review team went back to re-interview the man, who finally disclosed he worked several shifts at the pizza bar.

Marshall said it was not yet clear what the man’s motivation was.

Despite the huge implication’s of the man’s lies, there is currently no mechanism for action to be taken against him.

Authorities are still trying to locate thousands of people who may have had “dangerous contact” at the Woodville Pizza Bar.

The state’s chief public health officer, Nicola Spurrier, also warned that the number of cases in South Australia would rise over the next couple of days, though those individuals are already in isolation and are not a threat to the wider community.


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