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Health experts fear South Australia’s extreme ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown may not work 

A new ‘dangerous’ strain of coronavirus that sparked a sudden six-day hard lockdown in South Australia is so infectious it spread from a pizza box into the community. 

South Australians are in their first day of one of the world’s harshest lockdowns, which aims to provide a ‘circuit-breaker’ to prevent the new strain spreading rapidly across the state. 

At the centre of the outbreak is a pizza shop in Adelaide‘s northern suburbs where an infected medi-hotel security guard had a second job making pizzas. 

The number of cases remains at 23 after no additional new cases were announced on Thursday as the state plunged into chaos.

Health experts are divided over whether the harsh lockdown enforced on South Australians will be enough to stop of the new wave from spiralling out of control.

South Australia has gone into six days of lockdown in a desperate effort to bring a new 'dangerous' strain of coronavirus under control. Pictured are healthcare workers testing motorists in Adelaide on Tuesday

South Australia has gone into six days of lockdown in a desperate effort to bring a new ‘dangerous’ strain of coronavirus under control. Pictured are healthcare workers testing motorists in Adelaide on Tuesday

Health authorities hold grave grave concerns for the Woodville Pizza Bar which is now regarded as a hotspot in the growing cluster in Parafield in Adelaide’s north.

A medi-hotel security guard contracted the virus from a cleaner at Adelaide’s Peppers Hotel where the outbreak originated from a returned traveller.

Health authorities were initially confused how a separate positive case who worked at another Adelaide hotel contracted the virus.

They finally put two and two together when they realised he had bought a pizza where the hotel security guard had a second job. 

‘This person was not a security guard, was not a nurse or police officer but worked in the kitchen and that made us very concerned because we could not work out how on earth that person became infected,’ the state’s chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier told reporters.

‘We had a security guard at the hotel that worked part-time making pizza and we had the person at the Stamford, and we couldn’t connect the two, but what we found last night was another person that worked at the pizza bar and we were able to connect those two up because of the time links.’ 

This pizza shop in Adelaide's northern suburbs is at the centre of the outbreak, where a medi-hotel security guard had a second job making pizzas

This pizza shop in Adelaide’s northern suburbs is at the centre of the outbreak, where a medi-hotel security guard had a second job making pizzas

She was grilled as to why the hotel security guard was allowed to work a second job and whether the rules will be changed.

‘We say in medicine, it is very clear with the retrospect, you look back and you think you could have done XYZ, but for me today I am looking forward about what we have to do here and now to get on top of it.’

An urgent alert was issued on Tuesday for anyone who visited or got takeaway (including delivery) from the Woodville Pizza Bar November 6-16 to immediately self-quarantine and seek testing as soon as possible. 

Opinion is split of whether six days of strict lockdowns will be enough to bring the outbreak under control.

Swinburne University Dean of the School of Health Sciences Professor Bruce Thompson believes the lockdown is ‘slightly on the short side’.

‘We know the incubation period is roughly four or five days … however it can be as long as 14 days,’ Professor Thompson told radio station 3AW on Thursday.

‘If you’re only aiming for one incubation period you’ve sort of lost your margin of error.’

However University of New South Wales epidemiologist Professor Raina MacIntyre thinks it’s a good idea with the option to review the strategy and extend if required.

‘It enables the control of the disease and sometimes, a short sharp lockdown could be all that you need,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. 

Adelaide residents enjoy their last moments of freedom with an ice cream on Henley Beach on Wednesday night before going into six days of harsh lockdown

Adelaide residents enjoy their last moments of freedom with an ice cream on Henley Beach on Wednesday night before going into six days of harsh lockdown

She also supported the lockdown being enforced statewide rather than just Adelaide.

‘They’ve learned the lessons from Victoria, where placing apartment towers and single suburbs into lockdown didn’t work and from there, the outbreak just got bigger and bigger,’ Professor MacIntyre added.

Health authorities have praised the Adelaide doctor who helped pick up the new strain of the virus after insisted an elderly woman who came in with be tested.

‘There was a young doctor in the hospital in northern Adelaide who was absolutely essential in picking up that first case,’ Chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly told reporters on Wednesday.

‘The family member that went to that hospital and went to the Emergency Department with something else completely different, no respiratory symptoms, one of the doctors heard that person coughing and did the test and that is how we know that there’s something going on in South Australia very early.’

‘And they’re getting on top of very early, I am confident they will get on top of it.’  

Panic buying shoppers queued at the supermarkets after a sudden lockdown to start within hours was announced on Wednesday

Panic buying shoppers queued at the supermarkets after a sudden lockdown to start within hours was announced on Wednesday

Professor Spurrier is confident of bringing the outbreak of new virus strain under control. 

‘We are at the very early stages here in South Australia and we’re very lucky that we’ve caught it at this early stage but what we already know about this particular virus, and of this particular cluster, is that it is moving extremely rapidly,’ she told ABC’s 7.30 on Wednesday night.

‘So we are seeing very, very short incubation times, so that’s the time that a person is exposed and then becomes infectious, of 24 hours or less. 

‘We’ve been able to link this genomically, which is looking at the genetic material and we know exactly where it’s come from,’

‘It’s come from the UK and it was brought in by a traveller. So, it is a different genomic make-up, and it means that, yes, it is a different strain I guess you could call it that. It is certainly different to what we’ve had in our first wave.’

Adelaide residents flocked to Henley Beach on Wednesday night before going into lockdown

Adelaide residents flocked to Henley Beach on Wednesday night before going into lockdown

 Wedding plans ruined, cancer patients denied their dying wishes and businesses left reeling: Lives are turned upside down as South Australia plunges into a brutal lockdown starting today – after just two new covid cases

South Australia‘s sudden lockdown has already thrown the state into chaos, with weddings ruined, hundreds of truck drivers forced off the road and businesses decimated – despite there being just 23 coronavirus cases in the whole state.  

The state went into one of the world’s harshest lockdowns for six days starting 11.59pm on Wednesday as a ‘circuit-breaker’ to the outbreak.

All schools will close along with universities, pubs, cafes, food courts and even takeaway food outlets will shut up shop.

Regional travel will be banned and visitors will be locked out of aged care centres and the residents will be unable to leave.

Factories will close, along with the construction industry, and elective surgery will cease.

David Baldino, 36 and Jessabeau Thompson, 27, rushed to say 'I do' at Adelaide Botanic Gardens on Wednesday, just hours before the new restrictions come into effect

David Baldino, 36 and Jessabeau Thompson, 27, rushed to say ‘I do’ at Adelaide Botanic Gardens on Wednesday, just hours before the new restrictions come into effect

From midnight all schools will close along with universities, pubs, cafes, food courts and takeaway food outlets. Pictured: People outside pubs on Rundle st ahead of lockdown

From midnight all schools will close along with universities, pubs, cafes, food courts and takeaway food outlets. Pictured: People outside pubs on Rundle st ahead of lockdown

Weddings and funerals will be banned along with all outdoor sport and exercise and masks will be required outside the home.

People will only be allowed to leave their homes once each day to buy groceries or to seek a Covid-19 test or other medical treatment.

Supermarkets, petrol stations, medical centres, critical infrastructure, public transport, airport and freight services, banks, post offices, school and childcare for essential workers and veterinary services will be allowed to stay open.

With weddings banned as of midnight, SA couples scrambled to tie the knot before the clock struck 12.

David Baldino, 36 and Jessabeau Thompson, 27, rushed to say ‘I do’ at Adelaide Botanic Gardens on Wednesday, just hours before the new restrictions come into effect.

The pair were initially to get married on April 11, but were forced to reschedule for this Saturday due to the first Covid-19 wave.

‘We weren’t going to rearrange again, we have to move on with the rest of our lives,’ Mr Baldino told Adelaide Now before their 7pm emergency ceremony.

David and Jessabeau were initially set to get married on April 11, but were forced to reschedule for this Saturday due to the first COVID-19 wave

David and Jessabeau were initially set to get married on April 11, but were forced to reschedule for this Saturday due to the first COVID-19 wave

Hundreds of South Australian residents and visitors fled to Sydney (women pictured landing at Sydney Airport off a plane from Adelaide) to escape the brutal lockdown

Hundreds of South Australian residents and visitors fled to Sydney (women pictured landing at Sydney Airport off a plane from Adelaide) to escape the brutal lockdown

‘The [ban] still was a shock to us… it’s just unbelievable for it to happen twice to us.

‘But it is what it is, as long as we’re doing our part to keep everyone safe that’s the important thing.’

The couple said they will wait for restrictions to be completely eased before holding their wedding reception at the National Wine Centre with 165 guests.  

Meanwhile, a woman and her terminally ill mother had to give up on their bucket list holiday to Queensland after the Sunshine State slammed their borders shut to SA.

Deb Duncan was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, and hoped to go on a final getaway with her daughter Bo.

The pair arrived in Cairns on Sunday morning, only to wake up to a text on Monday from Queensland Health instructing them to quarantine for 14 days.

‘Straight away we were in the mode of trying to get home, but how are you supposed to get home if you’re supposed to be in quarantine for two weeks?’ Ms Duncan told the ABC.

Ms Duncan is desperate to get home before Monday to receive the next dose of a drug for her cancer treatment.  

‘Mum got a note from her oncologist saying that she had to be returned [home] immediately but we couldn’t get hold of anyone to find out what was going on,’ Bo Duncan said.

Nine flights departed Adelaide for Sydney on Wednesday, just hours before the lockdown came in

Nine flights departed Adelaide for Sydney on Wednesday, just hours before the lockdown came in

In-bound passengers from Adelaide are seen embracing as they collect their luggage at Sydney Domestic Terminal

In-bound passengers from Adelaide are seen embracing as they collect their luggage at Sydney Domestic Terminal

Empty establishments on a usually busy Rundle Street that is full of cafes and pubs ahead of Adelaide heading into a six-day lockdown

Empty establishments on a usually busy Rundle Street that is full of cafes and pubs ahead of Adelaide heading into a six-day lockdown

The mother and daughter both tested negative to the virus on Tuesday, but the doctor who took the tests told them to return to their hotel and quarantine.

The Duncans were forced to fork out $4,000 for emergency flights home so Deb can get treatment.

‘We had to – if it was any other circumstance we would have stayed here, but mum needs her medication, she needs her treatment,’ Bo said. 

Some health experts have expressed doubt on whether the short, harsh shutdown will work.

‘It’s slightly on the short side,’ Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Swinburne University Professor Bruce Thompson told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

‘We know the incubation period is roughly four or five days … however it can be as long as 14 days.’

‘If you’re only aiming for one incubation period you’ve sort of lost your margin of error.’

The sudden lockdown has also caused ‘turmoil’ for the trucking industry by landing hundreds of truck drivers on the Victorian border out of work for at least the next six days. 

‘The whole trucking industry is in turmoil,’ Brian Williamson, managing director of PortHaul, told The Age.  

The woodchip mills that the company hauls to must now close, and SA truck drivers who travel into Victoria have been ordered to stay home.

‘It’s ludicrous. Hundreds of trucks are just going to be parked up. There’s no alternative work for these vehicles and their drivers,’ he said. 

‘But it’s not just going to be woodchip trucks along the border – imagine how many trucks leave Adelaide for Perth and Sydney and Melbourne every day.’ 

The so-called Parafield cluster grew to 23 confirmed cases on Wednesday, however, seven more people are thought likely to be infected but are waiting on tests.

Imposing some of Australia’s, and the world’s, swiftest and strictest measures during the global pandemic, Premier Steven Marshall says pausing most community activity will significantly reduce the risk of the virus spreading further.

‘We are really asking the people of South Australia to join with us on this mighty quest to stop this disease in its tracks. We’ve got one chance with this,’ he said.

Bo Duncan and her terminally ill mother Deb have had to give up on their bucket list holiday to Queensland after the Sunshine State slammed their borders shut to SA

Bo Duncan and her terminally ill mother Deb have had to give up on their bucket list holiday to Queensland after the Sunshine State slammed their borders shut to SA

Thousands of people continued to flock to testing stations on Wednesday after 5000 tests were conducted on Monday and a record 9659 on Tuesday. Pictured: Roadside Covid signage at Daw Park

Thousands of people continued to flock to testing stations on Wednesday after 5000 tests were conducted on Monday and a record 9659 on Tuesday. Pictured: Roadside Covid signage at Daw Park

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the six-day period would be followed by another eight days of continuing restrictions.

The outbreak was sparked by a woman who worked as a cleaner in the Peppers Hotel, one of Adelaide’s quarantine facilities, who may have picked up the virus from a surface and then infected other family members

Genetic testing has linked her case back to a traveller who returned from Britain on November 2.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said there were worrying signs about the spread of the virus through the community, with information suggesting the particular strain had a short incubation period.

‘Clearly, if it’s reintroduced to the community it takes off very quickly,’ Professor Spurrier said.

‘That’s exactly what happened in Victoria. I don’t want that to happen in South Australia and I’m going to do everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen.

‘I would really like to not have any further cases here, but I think it’s inevitable that we will.

‘But I want all of those chains of transmission to stop.’

Premier Marshall urged residents not to panic buy, saying: 'There is no point going off to the supermarket this afternoon. Pictured: Customers line up outside Woolworths at Mitcham

Premier Marshall urged residents not to panic buy, saying: ‘There is no point going off to the supermarket this afternoon. Pictured: Customers line up outside Woolworths at Mitcham

Passengers wait for a Qantas flight to Canberra at Adelaide Airport on November 18

Passengers wait for a Qantas flight to Canberra at Adelaide Airport on November 18

Mr Marshall’s decision to go into lockdown has divided South Australians, with some asking why the state’s contract tracing was not better prepared after months of no cases and having had the chance to learn from Victoria’s mistakes.

‘So over the top for a cluster total of 20 cases. Fear mongering at its finest,’ a woman wrote on Facebook.

‘So, eight months of assurances that South Australia is prepared for an outbreak… = hitting the panic button because their systems have failed even this minor test. Time to go Marshall. You are destroying this state on every front,’ one man commented.

‘I hope six days doesn’t turn into nine months like Victoria,’ another person wrote.

Outspoken former Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi also took aim at Mr Marshall –  despite being from the same political party.

In a Twitter post the Senator appeared to link the state leader to China’s President and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping.

‘You’d think the General Secretary of South Australia would at least play some food and music while we queue up for food,’ Mr Bernardi wrote.

Xi Jinping is the General Secretary of the Communist Party.

With immediate signs of panic-buying across Adelaide’s supermarkets, Mr Stevens urged people to stay calm and be assured that supplies of all necessary items would be maintained.

But he said police could only do so much to enforce the lockdown and its restrictions.

As lockdown was announced at about 1pm, Woolworths and Coles stores rapidly filled up with long queues as residents stocked up on food and supplies

As lockdown was announced at about 1pm, Woolworths and Coles stores rapidly filled up with long queues as residents stocked up on food and supplies

Adelaide residents have started panic-buying in supermarkets after Premier Steven Marshall announced a six-day coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: People line up outside Coles at Plympton

Adelaide residents have started panic-buying in supermarkets after Premier Steven Marshall announced a six-day coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: People line up outside Coles at Plympton

‘Our expectation is people will do the right thing and will abide by this extreme level of imposition for a short period of time and help us do our job,’ he said.

‘Clearly, if you are out and about during these six days you should have the ability to justify the reason for your travel.

‘But essentially, you are required to stay at home for the next six days.’

Thousands of people continued to flock to testing stations on Wednesday after 5,000 tests were conducted on Monday and a record 9659 on Tuesday.

Efforts were being made to extend the hours of operation by bringing in more staff, including some from interstate.

A number of sites across Adelaide are of key concern, particularly a pizza bar, where a worker tested positive, two northern suburbs schools, a hospital and a swimming centre.

People who visited those sites have been asked to quarantine and get tested.

Almost 40 other locations are listed as places confirmed cases have visited in recent days, with people there at the same time asked to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they feel ill.

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