Angry Officials: State's Lockdown Was Based on a Lie

Order affected 1.7M residents of South Australia
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2020 9:03 AM CST
Angry Officials: State's Lockdown Was Based on a Lie
A lone man walks in a nearly empty pedestrian mall in Adelaide, Australia, during a six-day lockdown on Thursday.   (David Mariuz/AAP Image via AP)

The entire state of South Australia went into lockdown based on a lie told by a man who worked at a pizza place. "Had this person been truthful to the contact-tracing teams, we would not have gone into a six-day lockdown," Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said Friday. The state and its 1.7 million people began a strict lockdown on Wednesday following detection of 36 COVID-19 cases, including the first locally acquired cases since April, per the BBC. Australia has seen barely any cases since a second wave in Victoria, which resulted in a four-month lockdown lifted in October. The man in question was believed to have contracted the virus at Woodville Pizza Bar in Adelaide during a brief visit to pick up food, raising concerns of a highly contagious strain, per CNN. But the man hadn't been truthful.

He had in fact worked shifts at the pizza shop, per the Sydney Morning Herald, putting him in close contact with another coronavirus-positive pizza shop employee who contracted the virus while working security at a quarantine hotel. "To say I am fuming … is an understatement," Premier Steven Marshall said Friday, confirming the strict lockdown wouldn't have been enacted had the truth been know, per the Guardian. "The selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation" and officials now "need to find and isolate a whole new group of associates." He added officials are looking at possible consequences, though there is "no penalty associated with telling lies" under the Emergency Management Act. The lockdown will now end three days early, at midnight on Saturday, allowing schools, pubs, and gyms to reopen. (More Australia stories.)

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