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The Australian state of South Australia is entering a six-day mandatory lockout, which begins at midnight on Thursday local time, and residents must stay home to stop the spread of the virus.
Officials also said many outdoor activities, including outdoor activities, were banned. Only one person in the household has the right to leave home in one day for basic activities, such as going to the grocery store.
Face coverings in public places are mandatory.
South Australian Prime Minister Stephen Marshall announced the restrictions at a local media briefing on Wednesday afternoon, saying a “switch” was needed to ensure the safety of the community.
“We can’t wait to see how bad this is,” Marshall said.
“We need to act quickly and decisively on health advice to get ahead of the game. This health advice is that we need a switch. We need a switch to get ahead of that,” he added.
He said such measures were needed to conduct a “contact tracking blitz” to protect South Australians, especially the vulnerable and the elderly.
The South Australians will pause and create a 6-day break that will allow us to overtake the Parafield cluster.
This means that all non-essential workers must stay at home and leave only for food and medical supplies.
We do this to keep SA safe and strong. pic.twitter.com/qbSvfIrkvX
– Stephen Marshall, MEP (@marshall_steven) 18 November 2020
Businesses that may remain open for the next six days include petrol stations, basic agricultural services, factories that produce basic goods and products, and childcare facilities for key workers.
Weddings and funerals are also prohibited during the period.
Marshall acknowledged that the restrictions would be challenging, but stressed that following the guidelines outlined by public health experts was the only way to help “eliminate the virus”.
“There is no second chance to stop the second wave,” he added.
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The restrictions were introduced to deal with a growing coronavirus cluster in the city of Adelaide, the capital and cultural center of South Australia, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The newspaper notes that employees have now identified a total of 22 cases from this cluster with two new infections.
In all, South Australia has found a total of 36 cases across the country since Sunday, according to the BBC, making it the first known infection in the community in six months.
South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens told a news briefing that additional restrictions would be announced after the six-day blockade. He said he expects the next phase to be less severe and expects it to continue for another eight days.
He also added that he “100% supports” the new restrictions.