Victoria eases restrictions as South Australia deals with outbreak

Author
Newstalk ZB / news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 23 Nov 2020, 9:50AM
A man cycles along the Torrens River in Adelaide after the strict lockdown measures eased. (Photo / Getty)
A man cycles along the Torrens River in Adelaide after the strict lockdown measures eased. (Photo / Getty)

Victoria eases restrictions as South Australia deals with outbreak

Author
Newstalk ZB / news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 23 Nov 2020, 9:50AM

Victoria’s rules around masks are being adjusted as the state begins rolling back restrictions that have helped it register no new cases of coronavirus for 23 straight days.

Premier Dan Andrews announced at a press conference on Sunday morning that the rules for when Victorians are required to wear masks are among those being changed from midnight on Sunday night.

“We are making a fundamental change,” Mr Andrews said.

“Masks will be required inside in all settings, they will not be required when you are outside.”

Mr Andrews said Victorians still needed to carry their masks with them in case they find themselves in a situation where they can’t socially distance even while outside.

“If you go to Bunnings and you are inside the store, you are wearing a mask. If you are in the car park, you do not have to wear your mask. But if you are queuing up for a sausage, and you are with other people, and you are simply not keeping a distance, you are part of a crowd, you need to put the mask on,” Mr Andrews said.

“Carry the mask, because you never know, even outside, when you might need to wear it.”

Mr Andrews said masks “have played a very important part in these low numbers”.

“We just have to see this through and part of playing your part is wearing a mask,” Mr Andrews said.

South Australia has avoided a “catastrophic” situation in the state with one new case linked to a medi-hotel and none linked to the Parafield cluster, Premier Steven Marshall says.

It comes as the state’s Chief Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier released the modelling which prompted authorities to shut down the state while contact tracing was “supercharged” to stop a second wave.

The graph shows the reproduction number for the virus had reached “well above” two and potentially was as high as four last week, Professor Spurrier explained.

This meant that one infected person could have spread the virus to two others, or as many as four.

 “Based on that information, we had a 99 per cent chance that the wave that was starting off in South Australia was not going to be just a little blip, but it was going to be a very significant wave,” she said on Sunday.

The reproduction number had previously been sitting at 1.3, she said.

She said the graph showed how quickly the virus would could have spread.

“It shows a forecast of how the virus would spread if we hadn't made the decision to close down and basically supercharge our contact tracing,” Professor Spurrier said.

Sunday’s new case was woman in her 20s who has returned from overseas and remains in hotel quarantine.

The woman only became symptomatic on day ten of her 14-day quarantine period.

There were no new cases linked to the Parafield cluster in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

“The consequences of not acting quickly and following that health advice would have been absolutely catastrophic on all businesses, families and individuals in our state in a few moments time,” Premier Steven Marshall said on Sunday.

Testing rates in the state were “phenomenal” with 16,982 coronavirus tests carried out on Saturday, he said.

There was also no sign of any further community transmission from the cluster of 26 people infected with the virus.

 “I have no regrets on my advice and decision-making last week. I‘ve no doubt it was the right thing to do,” Professor Spurrier said.

Social distancing, mask wearing and getting tested were important to tackling the spread of the virus, she said.

But the professor said she was “absolutely stoked” with the efforts of South Australians compliance with the rules.

It comes after South Australia’s lockdown ended at midnight, three days earlier than planned.

But the Premier had earlier said the state was not out of the woods yet with one new virus case confirmed on Saturday linked to the Parafield cluster.