ADELAIDE, Australia — South Australian officials are finalizing plans to bring the state out of its week-long Covid-19 lockdown amid growing confidence a cluster of virus cases has been contained.
Premier Steven Marshall said the shutdown will end at one minute past midnight on July 28, provided there are no further “unlinked” Covid-19 cases.
That will also be contingent on final health advice on July 26, when transition arrangements for sporting fixtures are also expected to be detailed.
“Working together, we have been able to demonstrate we can get through this very difficult situation,” Marshall said.
“We are absolutely delighted with how the people of South Australia have worked with the restrictions. Everyone has made extraordinary sacrifices this week. We said we wanted to go hard, we wanted to go early, and we wanted to knock this off.”
When the lockdown lifts, South Australia will keep a range of heightened restrictions, including a general density requirement of one person to every four square meters.
Masks will be required in high-risk settings, such as aged care centers, medical services, and public transport.
The wider use of masks is strongly encouraged.
All food and drink consumption must be while seated, and dancing and singing remain banned.
Family gatherings will be limited to 10 people, although weddings and funerals can have up to 50.
Schools will also reopen on July 28
The new restrictions will remain in place for at least a week.
On top of the continuing measures, the premier urged all people to strongly consider their need to move around, working from home a preferred option.
South Australia reported just one new case in the Modbury cluster on July 26, an 87-year-old man who visited the Tenafeate Creek winery near One Tree Hill last week, which is now linked to 11 infections.
However, Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said more cases could still crop up, most likely in close contacts of those already found to have the disease.
“We have thrown 150 percent effort at this,” she said.
“We have got our teams working around the clock, throwing the net as wide as possible. But it is a very tricky virus, and this is why when we come out of lockdown, we all have to remain very observant, very cautious.”
She said it was hoped any new cases would already be in quarantine.
The cluster currently stands at 19 infections.
It began with an 81-year-old man who recently arrived in Australia from Argentina and was quarantined in Sydney before traveling to Adelaide, where he tested positive.
Genomic testing has confirmed the man became infected while in Sydney, not while he was in Argentina.
The state reported zero new Covid-19 cases on July 27. Anyone having visited an exposure site or specifically directed by the health department to isolate will have to complete the course of quarantine.
Edited by Saptak Datta and Krishna Kakani
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