Sat, 28 Nov 2020

CANBERRA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Premier of South Australia (SA) Steven Marshall has announced that the Australian state's hard coronavirus lockdown will end on Saturday night, three days earlier than first planned.

Marshall made the announcement on Friday while reporting that SA had recorded three new confirmed cases of COVID-19, all of which were already in isolation after being linked to a new outbreak that was identified on Sunday.

Despite the new cases he announced that the strict six-day "circuit breaker" lockdown that only came into effect on Thursday would be lifted after authorities found that one positive case had lied to contact tracers.

The man initially told tracers that he became infected after purchasing a pizza from a shop where an employee has tested positive but Marshall revealed on Friday that he was a fellow employee at the shop - increasing exposure to the virus and leading to the case being reclassified from community transmission to a close contact.

"One of the close contacts linked to the Woodville Pizza Bar deliberately misled the contact tracing team," Marshall said. "I will not let the disgraceful conduct of a single individual keep SA in these circuit breaker conditions one day longer than what is necessary."

He said that "effective immediately" the state's ban on outdoor exercise would be lifted.

As of midnight on Saturday hospitality venues in SA will re-open with a maximum capacity of 100 people, weddings will return with a cap of 150 and funerals will be allowed to have 50 attendees.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said that the man being treated as a case of community transmission sparked the lockdown, and that he would not be fined for his actions.

"The lie was the person claimed that they had purchased a pizza from the pizza shop, where in fact they were working there and had been working there for several shifts," Stevens said.

"That clearly changes the circumstances and had this person been truthful to the contact tracing teams, we would not have gone into a six-day lock down," he added.

As of Friday afternoon there had been 27,789 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours was five, according to the latest figures from Department of Health.

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