Anyone currently in the ACT from South Australia won’t be able to return home for six days from midnight tonight (12.01am 19 November), as new SA COVID restrictions usher the state into a comprehensive six-day lockdown to contain the unfolding Parafield cluster.
Under a range of sweeping restrictions, regional travel will not be approved, meaning South Australians in regional locations will be required to stay where they are for the entirety of the six-day period starting tomorrow.
“As of midnight tonight we need our community to pause for six days, a series of wide-ranging restrictions will be implemented to significantly reduce mobility in the community,” said SA Premier Stephen Marshall.
From tomorrow all schools, pubs, cafes, takeaway food outlets, universities and the construction industry will close for six days.
Elective surgery, except for urgent operations and cancer treatment, will be closed.
Weddings and funerals will also be banned for the six-day lockdown.
Critical services including infrastructure like water, power and telecommunications, medical services, airport and essential freight, petrol stations, and supermarkets will be able to remain open, with limitations in terms of access in place for the public.
One person per household able to leave once a day to purchase groceries.
Face masks will be required in all areas outside the home.
A final list of restrictions will be confirmed this evening.
As at 5pm today 18 November, the message from ACT Health remains that all non-essential travel between the ACT and SA is discouraged.
All flights from Adelaide into Canberra Airport will continue to be met by ACT Health public health response teams to provide travellers with information on COVID-19 symptoms and locations in the ACT where they can undergo testing if they develop symptoms while in the ACT.
Testing will also remain available at the Airport for anyone travelling from South Australia with COVID-19 symptoms to facilitate quick and easy testing.
Premier Marshall described the new SA COVID restrictions as a “circuit breaker” to create “breathing space for a contact tracing blitz”.
“We are going hard and we are going early. Time is of the essence,” he said.
“We cannot wait to see how bad this becomes … there is no second chance to stop a second wave.
“We need the opportunity to identify and to isolate the close contacts so that they aren’t out circulating the virus further.”
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the “comprehensive” SA COVID restrictions will have an “impact on virtually everybody in the community”.
“People will be restricted from going out of their house for a six-day period,” he said.
“With the way we’ve been managing COVID-19 over the last few months, I must admit this is not something I anticipated.
“The message is, stay at home unless you are accessing essential services, or you are an essential worker.”
Two new COVID cases were also confirmed in SA for today, both linked to the Parafield cluster.
There are now 36 active cases in SA in total, 22 cases directly linked to the cluster and a further seven suspected cases.
ACT Health continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation in South Australia closely. Overnight there have been a number of new potential exposure sites that have been added to the SA Health website.