Australia

South Australia's strict lockdown ends as premier warns 'we're not yet out of the woods'

An empty Rundle Mall on day one of the lockdown in Adelaide on 19 November, 2020. Source: AAP

A strict "circuit-breaker" lockdown in South Australia ended on Saturday night, as Melburnians anticipate their final step out of COVID-19 restrictions.

South Australia's strict lockdown has ended while Victoria is poised to take it's final step out of coronavirus restrictions into "COVID normal".

Premier Steven Marshall said on Saturday only one new case had been recorded in the past 24 hours but SA was "not yet out of the woods".

"The expert health advice we have received is that we are still managing a very dangerous cluster," he said.

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.
AAP

"Although we are reducing those restrictions, we are still very concerned about this cluster.

"There are still many people that we need to identify and put into a quarantine situation and get testing results."

The cluster at Parafield now numbers 26 after a positive case's partner tested positive.

"They don't pose any risk at all to the community," Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier told reporters.

The strict lockdown - involving no exercise outside the home - ends at midnight on Saturday, with a range of limits to remain on crowds at venues including pubs and restaurants.

"Although we are reducing those restrictions, we are still very concerned. There are still many people that we need to identify," Mr Marshall said.

Investigations continue into a pizza shop worker who lied to contact tracers about his whereabouts, sparking the lockdown.

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He is believed to be a 36-year-old Spaniard living in Australia on a temporary graduate visa.

Police also want to speak to two other people of interest as part of the investigation, which is being undertaken by 20 detectives.

Sixty fines and 103 cautions were issued by police to South Australians caught breaching COVID-19 rules on Thursday and Friday.

The Adelaide cluster has thrown rural Victorian communities reliant on SA border towns for shopping and business into confusion as they face a permit system for getting back across the border.

Victoria is on the cusp of eradicating the virus, with just one current active case following 22 days of no transmission.

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce the final steps out of restrictions in Melbourne on Sunday. The easing of rules will allow for larger numbers at restaurants, weddings and other gatherings.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce the final steps out of restrictions on Sunday.
Getty Images

Travel for Victorians is about to expand with NSW and the ACT due to to lift restrictions on Victorian visitors from Monday.

International arrivals will also recommence, with a revised hotel quarantine program, from 7 December. 

NSW has reached a milestone of two weeks without a locally transmitted case, though Queensland wants to see 28 transmission-free days before relaxing its southern border.

Ten cases of the virus were diagnosed in NSW hotel quarantine in the past 24 hours, with the state now managing 70 cases in travellers.

Meanwhile, new visitation guidelines have been developed for aged care homes, months after hundreds of residents died with coronavirus.

The federal government's handling of the aged care sector has been under question during the pandemic, with 685 residents dying with the virus this year. Most cases were in Victoria.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the three-tiered model would tell providers how to respond to the COVID-19 threat level in their community.

Visitation restrictions are recommended to remain at all times for people who have recently been overseas, have been in contact with a confirmed case, people who are sick, need to isolate or have not had the flu vaccination.

Tier three is the highest level and goes into effect when the community has an epidemic of coronavirus.

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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