Covid-19 Australia: How a family reunion brought Adelaide ‘on its knees’ and staring at a lockdown

A highly anticipated family reunion has led to four new coronavirus cases in Adelaide and has brought the health system ‘to its knees’ as officials implement strict level four restrictions in the city.

An 81-year-old man tested positive for Covid-19 in Adelaide on Monday morning – sparking the city’s first coronavirus scare in months – after undergoing hotel quarantine in Sydney after arriving with his daughter from Argentina.

His daughter, who is in her fifties, has now also been confirmed to have the virus. The third and fourth cases are close contacts of the older man.

The 81-year-old presented to staff at Modbury Hospital in northeast Adelaide on Sunday with respiratory symptoms and tested positive for Covid-19 at 2.30am on Monday.

That hospital is now on lockdown, with 27 patients and 25 employees forced into isolation after coming into contact with the elderly man.

The city’s other six hospitals have since been hit by overcrowding and were all listed as ‘code white’ on Monday afternoon – meaning they have overcapacity.

Monday’s surprising cases prompted Prime Minister Steven Marshall to introduce tough new restrictions, including bans on indoor eating and mandatory indoor masks.

The restrictions began at midnight and will be reviewed again on Friday.

The 81-year-old’s grandson said his mother spent four months trying to bring her father – who already had a medical condition – back to Australia from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

Health workers test the public as they drive through the COVID testing site in Adelaide’s Victoria Park. Four new coronavirus cases in South Australia have brought health system ‘to its knees’, ambulance union officials said

His mother was granted a compassionate waiver to fly to the South American country and help her father travel back to Australia, The Adelaide Advertiser reported.

But red tape and delays forced the couple to fly to Adelaide via Europe and Dubai – only starting their quarantine in Sydney on June 24.

The man had received one dose of vaccine while in Argentina, but the type was unknown, Mr Marshall said.

He spent 10 days of his quarantine period at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital after a fall at his Sydney medi-hotel and arrived in South Australia on 8 July.

The 81-year-old's grandson said his mother had spent four months trying to bring her father - who had a pre-existing medical condition - back to Australia from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

The 81-year-old’s grandson said his mother had spent four months trying to bring her father – who had a pre-existing medical condition – back to Australia from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

Modbury Hospital in northeast Adelaide has been shut down after the infected elderly man there showed respiratory symptoms

Modbury Hospital in northeast Adelaide has been shut down after the infected elderly man there showed respiratory symptoms

South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall (pictured) announced new restrictions on Monday

South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall (pictured) announced new restrictions on Monday

The Ambulance Employees Association said the positive cases have brought the state’s health system “to its knees” as health officials struggle to fill the shifts of exposed workers.

“There are only 28 rosters on the night shift, so that’s up to 50 percent of emergency personnel for tonight that the EMS will struggle to fill,” said the association’s Leah Watkins. ABC news.

Adelaide’s Level Four restrictions, meanwhile, have also forced thousands of non-essential businesses to close.

LEVEL FOUR RESTRICTIONS IN ADELAIDE:

Level four restrictions begin Monday at midnight and will remain in effect until Friday in the Adelaide areas.

– Private meeting at home is limited to 10 hours.

– Density for licensed properties back to one per 4 m² or 25 percent capacity.

– Non-essential retail to close.

– All gyms and contact sports will be discontinued.

– Face masks are mandatory in public areas and on public transport.

– There will be restrictions on dancing and singing.

– Personal care services (beauty salons and hairdressers) will close.

– Sharing shishas in shisha bars is prohibited.

– Working from home is strongly encouraged.

EXPOSURE SITES IN ADELAIDE:

Modbury: Commonwealth Bank – Tuesday, July 13, 10am-11:15am and Wednesday, July 14, 10:30am-12:15pm

Saint Agnes: Aldi – Tuesday 13 July, 10.20 am to 11.30 am

Hindmarsh: Gaganis Bros – Friday, July 16, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM

Golden Forest: OPSM – Saturday 17 July, 15:00-15:45

Golden Forest: Shopping center on Saturday 17 July between 15:00-16:45

Golden Forest: The Grove News Agency on Saturday 17 July between 3.30pm-3.45pm

Saint Agnes: Shopping center on Tuesday 13 July between 10.30-11.30 o’clock

Everyone who was there Wigley Reserve at Glenelg on Friday 16th July between 12.30pm and 1.15pm should check for symptoms and test if they are present.

Private gatherings at home are limited to 10, non-essential shops must close, all gyms are closed and contact sports are banned.

Masks are mandatory in public indoor locations and working from home is strongly encouraged.

However, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said ‘this is not a lockdown’.

“We have to limit movement in the community,” he said.

Mr Marshall said: ‘We only have one chance to get this right. We are very concerned. We treat this as the Delta variant. We’re going fast and early.’

Health authorities are now trying to determine where the elderly man contracted the virus.

SA chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said everyone’s movements should be restricted until contact tracers can figure out where the man and his daughter went while they were contagious.

“What we don’t have yet are all the people she and her father encountered in the past week,” she said.

“That’s why we have this time to restrict the movement of people here in South Australia. We don’t have time. We are asking the South Australian community to reduce movement while my team can do the contact tracing.”

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens previously said it is highly likely that South Australians will be affected by higher Covid-19 restrictions.

SA Health has identified a series of exposure sites in the northeast of the city and has ordered everyone there at these times to isolate for 14 days, notify them and get tested on days one, five and 13.

South Australia has now closed its borders with NSW, Greater Brisbane and Victoria amid new outbreaks.

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