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South Australia's patient zero identified as hotel security guard

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 24/11/2020 Eliza Mcphee For Daily Mail Australia
a tall building in a city: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

A security guard at the Peppers Hotel has been identified as South Australia's 'patient zero' who ultimately plunged the state into a strict lockdown.

Health authorities confirmed on Wednesday the security guard had been the first to contract coronavirus after it was initially believed the outbreak came from an infected cleaner at the medi-hotel.

Premier Steven Marshall said CCTV taken from the Adelaide hotel confirmed that no staff member had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said authorities are yet to determine how the virus was transmitted from an infected returned traveller to the staff member.  

a tall building in a city: A security guard at the Peppers Hotel in Adelaide has been identified as the 'patient zero' in the recent outbreak of coronavirus cases in South Australia © Provided by Daily Mail A security guard at the Peppers Hotel in Adelaide has been identified as the 'patient zero' in the recent outbreak of coronavirus cases in South Australia

The outbreak from the hotel has been linked to the state's Parafield cluster which has 29 cases.

'There was also absolutely no incidents of staff going into the travellers' rooms. And certainly no inappropriate behaviour at all,' Dr Spurrier said. 

She said the footage taken from the hotel would still need to be thoroughly reviewed by authorities.

'But on the basis of the stills, I can absolutely confirm that nobody was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I think that that is the most important thing,' she said.

'They're looking at whether people had touched their mask … when did they touch their mask? When did they touch another surface? So you can imagine, it's very, very detailed information that they're needing to have a look at. 

'We're even going to the extent of looking at when the vacuuming was done on the floor, and when bags of food have been placed outside people's rooms.

'I knew COVID-19 was highly transmissible ... but it is even more transmissible than I initially thought.'

It comes after it was revealed two more COVID-19 cases had been recorded in those quarantining in the hotel.

The infections were found in a husband and wife who recently returned to Australia and were originally thought to have contracted the virus while overseas. 

All guests and staff at the hotel on Waymouth Street in the Adelaide's CBD were put through an urgent testing blitz on Tuesday night to keep the outbreak under control.  

a group of people standing on the side of a building: All guests and staff at the hotel on Waymouth Street in the city's CBD were put through an urgent testing blitz on Tuesday night. Pictured are guests at the hotel on November 18 © Provided by Daily Mail All guests and staff at the hotel on Waymouth Street in the city's CBD were put through an urgent testing blitz on Tuesday night. Pictured are guests at the hotel on November 18 a man standing in front of a crowd: A medical staff member takes details from South Australians queuing at a coronavirus testing clinic on November 17.  A major testing blitz is underway at the Peppers Hotel after two coronavirus cases at the facility were linked on Tuesday to the growing Parafield cluster in Adelaide's northern suburbs © Provided by Daily Mail A medical staff member takes details from South Australians queuing at a coronavirus testing clinic on November 17.  A major testing blitz is underway at the Peppers Hotel after two coronavirus cases at the facility were linked on Tuesday to the growing Parafield cluster in Adelaide's northern suburbs

From Wednesday, South Australia Health officials, defence force personnel and all employees and contractors working in the state's quarantine hotels will be tested weekly.

The rule includes all cleaning and security staff.

Any person working at a medi-hotel who develops COVID-19 symptoms must notify SA Health and further direction will be given on self-isolation requirements.

In another shock announcement, anyone in the state who contracts the virus will be taken to a health facility under police guard. 

Staff working at the facility will not be deployed to any other accommodation or high risk environments like aged care homes.

There were no new cases recorded in the state on Wednesday and there are currently 38 people infected.

Earlier on Tuesday, authorities expressed continued optimism that SA remained on track to next week ease the restrictions the outbreak sparked. 

SA's transition committee will meet on Friday in what looms as a crucial gathering for local businesses and for families in the lead-up to Christmas.

If all goes well, SA will also lift its border restrictions with Victoria from December 1.

a person driving a car: Medical personnel test a driver at a pop-up coronavirus testing facility in Adelaide on Thursday © Provided by Daily Mail Medical personnel test a driver at a pop-up coronavirus testing facility in Adelaide on Thursday

A Spanish man meanwhile accused of sparking South Australia's frenzied three-day coronavirus lockdown after lying about his movements when he tested positive to the virus has apologised.

The 36-year-old is under investigation after falsely claiming he didn't work at a takeaway where another infected man worked - prompting officials to believe he caught Covid off a pizza box and a super strain of the virus had been unleashed.

But South Australian health authorities later determined he was an employee at the Woodville Pizza Bar in Adelaide. Both he and other people linked to the restaurant are accused of lying to contact tracers. 

South Australians were confined to their homes for a strict six-day lockdown from midnight on Wednesday.

However, after the news came to light the pizza worker had become infected from his colleague, the lockdown was lifted at midnight on Saturday.

a sign on the side of a building: An empty street in Adelaide is seen on Thursday after the state was plunged into lockdown © Provided by Daily Mail An empty street in Adelaide is seen on Thursday after the state was plunged into lockdown Read more

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