Australia

SA police form taskforce to probe the 'lie' that sparked the state's coronavirus lockdown

A task force will investigate the circumstances around misleading information being given to South Australian contact tracers that sparked a statewide lockdown.

South Australian police have formed a task force to investigate misleading information given to contact tracers trying to contain a COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide.

Premier Steven Marshall revealed on Friday that a person infected with the disease had "lied" about his work at an Adelaide pizza bar, considered a hotspot in the emerging outbreak.

It prompted authorities to impose a six-day statewide lockdown on Thursday.

That will end three days early on Sunday as concerns over community transmission of the virus eased after the problems with the man's information were revealed.

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Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey will head up Task Force Protect which will look at all the circumstances surrounding information provided to SA Health's contact tracing teams.

Mr Harvey said the task force would involve 20 detectives and analysts and would report directly to him twice each day.

"It's important amongst the high emotion that surrounds these circumstances that my investigation is thorough and fair," he said.

"We will be looking at what legislation may or may not have been breached.

"It's complex. It could span any number of potential legislation from the criminal law, through the Emergency Management Act or public health acts."

Earlier on Friday, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the Emergency Management Act did not appear to give police powers to take any further action against the man involved.

But he said those provisions would be reviewed and made it clear that had the man not given misleading information, the six-day statewide lockdown would not have been imposed.

Mr Marshall said it was an "absolute understatement" to say he was "fuming" about the actions of the man involved.

"The selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation," he said.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW,VictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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