‘Alarm bell’: Stevens warns SA on brink of tougher restrictions

Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens says new COVID restrictions may be imposed at any time in South Australia, warning of a “potential outbreak now in Tailem Bend” and announcing new entry rules for arrivals from Greater Melbourne.

Jul 14, 2021, updated Jul 14, 2021
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens. (Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily)

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens. (Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily)

At a press conference a short time ago, a stern Stevens said that an “alarm bell”should be ringing for South Australians.

Stevens said that from midnight tonight, anyone arriving in South Australia from the Greater Melbourne area will be required to be tested within 24 hours after arrival.

They will also be prevented from visiting high-risk sites such as aged care facilities.

All freight drivers arriving at the South Australian border will be required to provide evidence of a negative coronavirus test, or be tested within 24 hours after entry.

Stevens said SA Health were reviewing the situation “on an hourly basis” and were prepared to impose internal restrictions in South Australia in response.

“This is a harsh warning to the people of South Australia to make sure you do the right thing,” he said.

“I need people to understand just how serious this is and how close we are to imposing further restrictions on the community of South Australia.

“We’re not doing that now, but it is something that we are actively considering as we watch what happens in other places.”

Victoria recorded seven new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are linked to the Ariele Apartments complex in northern Melbourne where two infectious NSW removalists worked before entering SA.

Among the new cases is a man in his 60s who subsequently infected his parents, who are aged in their 80s and live in Craigieburn.

The man attended an AFL match between Carlton and Geelong on Saturday and was seated in level two of the MCC section of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and also visited a shopping centre.

Anyone in South Australia who visited exposure sites in Victoria must immediately self-isolate and seek urgent testing.

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The list of the exposure sites is available on the Victorian Health Department’s website.

SA Police continues to investigate whether the removalists who travelled through South Australia stopped off at a third exposure site in this state.

Stevens said there were 25 QR code check-ins at the Tailem Bend Shell service station and neighbouring Coolabah Tree Café exposure sites during the at-risk period between 5.20 and 7pm on Friday, July 9, but there were 76 credit card transactions.

He said there are currently in the order of 118 close contacts that have been identified from the exposure sites.

“We are dealing with a potential outbreak now in Tailem Bend,” he said.

“This is a major factor in our considerations in relation to next steps for South Australian restrictions.

“We need to be confident that the South Australian community are doing the right thing and using those QR check-ins, so we can actively contact trace anybody who may have been exposed.”

Stevens said he was not telling people off, rather, he was giving them “due warning that we are actively considering restrictions for South Australia”.

“This is an alarm bell going off for people to understand just how serious a situation this is in adjoining jurisdictions,” he said.

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