South Australia’s tough lockdown will be eased earlier than planned following revelations that a close contact linked to Woodville pizzeria deliberately misled the state’s contract tracking team.
However, a series of restrictions will remain from midnight on Saturday, Prime Minister Steven Marshall announced.
Three new cases of coronavirus were confirmed overnight, however, all were already in quarantine.
There are now 25 cases related to the coronavirus cluster in North Adelaide.
The dishonest man claimed that he had bought pizza at the Woodville store, but had actually worked there several shifts as a kitchen helper, Marshall said.
“To say that I am furious at the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement,” he said.
“These selfish actions by this individual have put our entire state in a very difficult situation.
“His actions have affected companies, individuals, family groups and it is totally and absolutely unacceptable.”
Authorities are now struggling to contact and instruct an entirely new group of people to isolate themselves after the person’s dishonesty.
“Their story didn’t add up. We chased them. Now we know they lied,” Marshall said.
“I emphasize on this point, that it is still a very dangerous group and our health experts remain very concerned.
“We are still trying to locate thousands of people who may have had a dangerous contact at Woodville Pizza.”
South Australia will again have a “series of restrictions” starting at midnight on Saturday.
While exercise in family groups is now allowed, it takes immediate effect.
Caps of 100 people will be placed in the hospitality facilities and table reservations will be limited to 10 people.
Funerals for up to 50 people will be allowed and weddings will revert to a 150 allowance, but there will be no dancing or “vertical consumption.”
Religious ceremonies will be restricted to 100 people. Private meetings will be limited to 50 people, while meetings in private residences will be restricted to only 10 people.
Sitting is required in all places that offer food and beverages.
Personal care, including hairdressers and beauty therapists, will be required to wear masks during services. Gyms may also be reopened.
People continue to be encouraged to wear face masks until authorities are “sure” that Parafield’s group is under control, however they are not required.
The state hopes to be able to get back to where it was before the lockdown restrictions were applied on December 1, the same date South Australia is expected to leave its border with Victoria.
South African Police Commissioner Grant Stephens, who is the state coordinator, said the six-day lockdown was the “correct course of action” based on health advice received at the time.
The dishonest cook who worked at the pizzeria was also a security guard at the medi-hotel.
“I was confident that at the time we made the decision to enter a six-day lockdown it was the correct course of action based on the health council,” said Commissioner Stephens.
“That was based on information at his disposal that we now know was not true.”
Commissioner Stephens said the initial false statement made by the man claiming that he had simply bought pizza from the store was what prompted authorities to consider a total closure.
“The first consequence of this lie is that we enter a six-day confinement,” he said.
“The second consequence is that the fact that this person is not forthcoming with the contact trackers means that his close associates who we understand he has had close contact with have not been identified and are currently in the community.”