SA defies chief health officer advice, eases restrictions further

SA defies chief health officer advice, eases restrictions further

Social distancing measures imposed on South Australian hospitality operators will be eased effective immediately against the advice of chief health officer Nicola Spurrier (pictured).

As such, operators of hospitality venues in the state will see distancing measures eased from one person per four square metres to one person per two square metres today.

According to the state's police commissioner Grant Stevens the decision was made against the advice of the CHO.

However, the SA Transition Committee determined the change to be appropriate given the resounding uptake of the new QR code check-in system for businesses and venues across the state.

"It was made clear by Professor Spurrier that the preferred way forward and moving into the next phase of this particular response is that we retain social distancing of one person per four square metres across the board, and that we reconsider our position as we move into next week," Stevens said.

"We looked at the performance of the South Australian community in relation to the take up of the use of QR codes, where we are currently over 1.1 million check ins across the state, which is exceptional.

"And also looking at the economic and social factors in relation to the restrictions that are currently in place, and the advice from the Transition Committee as a whole, was that the best course of action would be to move to a distancing requirement of one person per two square metres for hospitality."

Other activities are still restricted to one person per four square metres.

Professor Nicola Spurrier said it was difficult to give the Transition Committee a solid risk assessment at this point in time but she was confident the easing of restrictions could work if the use of the QR code check-in system was taken up across the board.

"Our recommendation from a health perspective was to continue that one per four square metre density requirement and my other advice was that we would reconsider things every couple of days," she said.

"I am providing the best advice that I can and obviously the density requirement in certain venues means that you don't have as many contacts between people. But on the other hand we have the QR readers which really is a game changer."

No new cases of COVID-19 were detected in SA today. There are now just seven active cases in South Australia and 272 people in quarantine.

Yesterday 3,548 South Australians got tested for COVID-19 a low number of tests according to Spurrier.

"That is not really high enough guys, I'd like to see it a little bit higher," she said.

"If you happen to be one of those people with a bit of a sore throat or a runny nose can you please go out and get it done."

Updated at 11.42am AEDT on 4 December 2020.

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