Coronavirus quarantine breakers should be dobbed in to police – SA Premier

Premier Steven Marshall is urging people to dob in suspected quarantine dodgers to police, saying “we are only as strong as our weakest link”.

It comes as cruise ships passengers are being blamed for a large number of South Australia’s rising coronavirus cases.

There have now been a total of 235 cases reported across the state, after the count increased by 38 on Thursday.

The latest jump in infections includes 19 people from the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which docked in Sydney earlier this month.–.webp”/>
media_cameraThe Ruby Princess cruise ship docked in Sydney earlier this month, and since then many passengers have tested positive for COVID-19. Picture: AAP / Dean Lewins

That ship alone has now been responsible for 44 of SA’s coronavirus cases, while cruise ships have caused 60 of the state’s overall infections.

Mr Marshall said people who believed quarantine rules were being broken should call police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, where reports can be anonymous.

“We are sending a strong message to people that if they are doing the wrong thing then they are endangering the lives of fellow South Australians,” Mr Marshall said.

“We want to make it very clear there will be consequences.

“We encourage people who know that people are blatantly disobeying these restrictions to let us know. We will follow it up.”

People who breach quarantines rules face a $20,000 fine, though police are yet to issue any penalties.

However, they are monitoring the state’s borders and requiring people to sign statutory declarations on where they will be.

People who have arrived from anywhere overseas since March 15, or interstate since March 22, must self-isolate for 14 days. That also applies to close contacts of confirmed infection cases.

SA Health Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier revealed a separate 1800 253 787 health hotline.

It will provide local information on the coronavirus, and be open from 8am to 8pm every day of the week.

Dr Spurrier said it was for people with symptoms who wanted help, and those in isolation wanting to understand their responsibilities or advice if they had nowhere to go.

The new cases confirmed on Thursday include people ranging from the age of 10 to those in their mid-70s.

Dr Spurrier was unable to provide specific details of the cases, including where the child went to school, but said the existing protocols for lockdowns and contact tracing would be followed.

Three South Australians are in intensive care units because of coronavirus.

On Thursday, a 50-year-old man joined two other men, aged 68 and 76, who had previously been announced as needing ICU care. They were in stable conditions, according to clinicians.

SA is yet to record a coronavirus death and the sickness is mild for most people.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier, Health Ministher Steven Wade and Premier Steven Marshall. Picture: AAP / Kelly–.jpeg”/>
media_cameraChief public health officer Nicola Spurrier, Health Ministher Steven Wade and Premier Steven Marshall. Picture: AAP / Kelly Barnes

Dr Spurrier said 22,000 coronavirus tests had been conducted in SA, which was the most in the nation per capita and among the highest rates in the world.

“Most of our cases have had international travel, particularly those cruise liners,” she said. “A smaller number have had interstate travel. What is reassuring to me is … evidence that we haven’t got that sustained community transition.”

She stressed that “young children have very mild symptoms”, which has been the case with an infected baby in SA.

Mr Marshall said he believed most people were doing the right thing in isolation.

“By and large, South Australians are doing a fantastic job in a very, very difficult situation, but we are only as strong as our weakest link,” he said.

“All South Australians must play their part in fighting this disease and saving lives.”

Health Minister Stephen Wade said the Government was moving to secure adequate equipment and extra staff ahead of the expected peak of SA cases.

“The challenge we have in SA in relation to ICU capacity is actually the workers to man those facilities,” he said.

Originally published as Dob in the quarantine dodgers

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