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Health chief's concern: How New Zealand's cluster should be a warning for South Australia

Health chief's concern: How New Zealand's cluster should be a warning for South Australia

SA’s public health chief has expressed her concerns around New Zealand’s unexpected COVID-19 cases, saying it’s a warning for the state.

Professor Nicola Spurrier said she was very concerned about the cluster in Auckland, which rose to 17 cases on Wednesday after a record of 102 days without community transmission.

“It is absolutely a warning sign for SA,” she said.

“New Zealand did a fantastic job of eliminating the virus. There was no evidence for it there and went back to business as usual with no restrictions.

“I’ve always said we may eliminate the virus but we don’t eliminate the risk and it’s obvious we still have the risk.

“There’s always people, whether they’re in quarantine or bringing in freight or supplies to the country, that the disease can be reintroduced.”

She said South Australia’s biggest risk came from Victoria, which recorded 278 cases and eight deaths on Thursday, and was the reason restrictions remained in place.

“I know it’s frustrating … but we need to continue a level of restrictions, the hand hygiene and social distancing here in SA,” Prof Spurrier said.

“We don’t have all details yet (from New Zealand) but it’s a timely reminder for why we need these restrictions here.”

All 17 cases in Auckland are linked to the family of four who were found on Tuesday.

NZ Primer Minister Jacinda Ardern then announced the city would be locked down for three days, but could possibly be extended.