South Australia will end its "circuit breaker" lockdown tonight, three days earlier than officially planned, after it was discovered that a man connected to a recent outbreak lied to contact tracers.
Premier Steven Marshall said on Friday that he would loosen the state's restrictions because one man at a pizza bar linked to a cluster of new cases told contact tracers he had only bought a pizza when he actually worked at the shop.
Authorities initially thought the man had caught the virus during a very short exposure, meaning the strain of virus was highly contagious.
It was only after the state was sent into a six-day lockdown on Thursday, to allow contact tracers to catch up with what they mistakenly believed was a fast-spreading coronavirus cluster, that it was discovered the man was an employee who had worked several shifts.
When the truth was uncovered, lessening fears for the severity of the outbreak, Marshall said he would not let "the disgraceful conduct of a single individual" keep the state locked down any longer than necessary.
"To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement," Marshall said. "The selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation."
Grant Stevens, the state's police commissioner, said the state would not have gone into lockdown had the person not lied.
"The lie was the person claimed that they had purchased a pizza from the pizza shop, when in fact they were working there and had been working there for several shifts," Stevens said.
South Australia's stay-at-home order will be repealed at midnight, allowing gatherings to go ahead and businesses to resume trading.
Under the eased restrictions, businesses will be allowed to reopen but must comply with the one person per 4 sq m density restriction.
There will be no dancing in venues allowed, and patrons will have to consume all food and drinks while seated.
Gyms, massage parlours and salons will be allowed to reopen, but personal care workers will need to wear masks.
There will also be a return to strict caps on gatherings, with funerals limited to 50 people and weddings to 150 guests who must register with SA Health.
Private gatherings will be capped at 50 people, while gatherings held at private residences must be no larger than 10 people.
Schools will reopen on Monday, after parents were initially told students would have to spend the first part of next week at home.
- Additional reporting UK Daily Telegraph