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Thursday, November 26, 2020

November 26, 2020

South Australia will introduce a plan to keep positive COVID-19 cases under police guard at a special facility, as the state announced no new cases.

Positive COVID-19 cases in South Australia will be taken to a dedicated facility as part of a major crackdown on the state’s medi-hotels.

Security at the facility will be provided exclusively by SA Police officers and protective security officers, Premier Steven Marshall has announced.

The state recorded no new cases on Wednesday, after two more cases were linked to the local Parafield cluster on Tuesday.

Announcing the suite of new measures, Mr Marshall said one option being considered for the specialised facility is the old Wakefield hospital.

“Staff working at the facility will not be deployed to other medi-hotels or high-risk environments, including aged care facilities, correctional facilities or hospitals,” he told reporters.

“All staff who are working in the dedicated facility have access to the Hotel for Heroes facility, so that they have the option to rest away from their home.”

Mr Marshall said the strategies will be discussed with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) before it is implemented.

He said he will also ask National Cabinet to consider testing all returning Australians prior to their flights.

Under the plan, travellers would be required to return a negative test result before boarding.

The state’s medi-hotels have come under scrutiny after it was revealed a worker at one facility, Peppers Hotel, contracted the virus, before it spread through close contacts and family members.

The total number of cases linked to the local Parafield cluster is now 29.

Mr Marshall said Peppers would undergo a thorough deep-clean, while chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier announced that an initial review of CCTV collected from the hotel is now complete.

“(The team) need to do a much more thorough review of the whole video sequence, and that will be happening over the next couple of days,” she said.

“But, on the basis of the stills, I can confirm that nobody was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Dr Spurrier said the team would be looking at “subtle details” such as whether people had touched their masks, and when they touched other surfaces.

She also clarified that it was a security guard at the hotel who first caught the virus, not a cleaner as earlier suggested.

The outbreak led to a brief statewide shutdown, after authorities formed the conclusion that the virus had spread from a worker at the Woodville Pizza Bar to a customer.

However, the restrictions lifted earlier when it was discovered the “customer” was instead a worker who had misled contact tracers.

SA Police has assigned 20 detectives and analysts to investigate the matter as part of Taskforce Protect.

Commissioner Grant Stevens said more than 600 police officers a day have been diverted to “response activities” over the last 10 days.

“There is significant diversion from what you might call core policing activities,” he said.


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