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Covid-19 News Updates

Queensland rolls out the welcome mat to Victoria

Queensland rolls out the welcome mat to Victoria

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced her state will finally be open to Victorians after the southern state went 28 days without community transmission of COVID-19.

The Queensland border was first completely closed to Victorians on 10 July on fears of an outbreak of COVID-19 that eventually resulted in Melbourne being locked down for months.

Speaking to ABC News Breakfast this morning Palaszczuk welcomed Victorians back to the Sunshine State for the Christmas period.

"I congratulate Daniel Andrews, their chief health officer, and all Victorians because this is just such fantastic news," she said on the program.

"So it means on the 1st of December Victorians can also come to Queensland and, of course, Queenslanders could go to Victoria as well."

The announcement comes one day after the Queensland Government announced those in Sydney would be allowed to cross the border north from 1 December.

Victoria again reported no new cases of COVID-19 and no active cases of the coronavirus in the state today.

The easing of border measures means Victorians will no longer need to complete 14 days of quarantine on arrival, unless they have recently been in a COVID-19 hotspot.

Border restrictions with South Australia are still being considered as the Parafield cluster remains a concern to Dr Young.

Updated at 9.18am AEDT on 25 November 2020.

Queensland to open to Sydneysiders on 1 December

Queensland to open to Sydneysiders on 1 December

Update: Since publication Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Queensland will also reopen to Victorians from 1 December. Read more.

A long-awaited Queensland border opening to Sydney residents will soon be a reality after the State Government announced closures would be lifted from 1 December.

A 28-day streak without any unlinked cases in Greater Sydney gave the Sunshine State's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young the confidence to make today's call, just in time for the busy Christmas period.

Following Queensland's opening to the rest of New South Wales on 1 November, the latest update means no visitors from the neighbouring state will need to complete two weeks of quarantine, unless of course they have been in a hostpot area recently.

"New South Wales, we welcome you to Queensland from the 1st of December. We know how tough this has been on families; this is a great day, it's exciting news, and it has met the requirements that Dr Young has set," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Victorians may be able to travel to QLD in December too, with a decision on that border to be made tomorrow morning.

"Tomorrow is the day that Victoria will meet that threshold as well, so I will update everybody again tomorrow morning," the Premier said.

"I've advised also Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that if they reach that 28 days tomorrow, then they too will be open on the 1st of December.

"We're in contact with the airlines - we know how important it is that the airlines are able to plan. People are able to plan for their holidays as well, and Queensland is good to go. We absolutely want to see our tourism industry continue to flourish and prosper."

Border restrictions with South Australia are still being considered as the Parafield cluster remains a concern to Dr Young.

The QLD border has been closed to Sydney since 1 August when cases of community transmission began reappearing in the NSW capital, making it a COVID-19 hotspot in the eyes of QLD's authorities.

QLD reported just one new case of COVID-19 today - a person in hotel quarantine. It has been 70 days since QLD reported a locally acquired case of the coronavirus.

"We are seeing more and more cases in hotel quarantine, and that's to be expected as we see the case numbers elsewhere in the world continue to rise," Dr Young said.

"The important thing to recognise is that this virus is circulating throughout the world, that the case numbers are increasing - we're very safe here because of our international border restrictions, but it could happen at any time.

"It was so unexpected when they got that case in South Australia, and their hospital system down there is to be commended that they picked up that case so quickly to present it to one of their emergency departments."

In order for Queensland to have that first line of defence by tracing the virus successfully, Dr Young reiterated the need for the public to be tested if they have any symptom, no matter where in the state they may be.

"Please just come forward and get is wonderful to see the large numbers of Queenslanders still coming forward. That is so critical, because if you find the first case in an outbreak, we can get on top of it very quickly and not have to do all those close-downs that no none of us want to see."

Updated at 10.54am AEDT on 24 November 2020.

Victoria eases restrictions as state goes 24 days with no new cases

Victoria eases restrictions as state goes 24 days with no new cases

Capacity limits at venues have increased, community sport has returned, and masks are no longer mandatory outdoors after COVID-19 restrictions eased in Victoria overnight.

The easing of restrictions comes as Victoria goes 24 days with no new cases of COVID-19 this morning, giving the state's Premier confidence to push for a "normal" Christmas.

As such, from 11.59pm last night a number of COVID-19 restrictions eased in Victoria.

The number of visitors to one's home has increased from two to 15 per day. This can be split across different times (eg. ten for lunch and five for dinner) as long as the total never goes beyond 15.

Outdoor gatherings in a public place like parks or beaches can have up to 50 people in attendance.

Weddings are now allowed to have 150 people in attendance, with the same capacity number applying to funerals and other religious ceremonies indoors.

Small venues have seen density limits change to one person per two square metres, with capacity restrictions of up to 50 customers and mandatory QR code record keeping.

For larger venues the density limit will stay the same, but the capacity will increase to 150.

Cinemas, galleries and museums can now host up to 150 people indoors.

Contact and non-contact community club sport has resumed for adults and children, with limits of 150 people indoors with a group size of up to 20 and 500 people outdoors with groups of up to 50.

Masks are no longer mandatory when Victorians are outdoors however they will still be required on public transport and indoors where social distancing is not possible.

A phased return to the office for private sector employees will begin from 30 November where up to 25 per cent of staff can work onsite.

The state plans on easing restrictions further from 13 December, just in time for Christmas.

If case numbers remain as low as they have for the past month the government will permit gatherings of up to 30 at homes from 13 December, with babies under 12 months not counting toward the cap.

"Three months ago, Victoria had 4293 active cases. Today we have one. It's an incredible achievement," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"Back then, the goal the hope was something a little more 'normal' for Christmas.

"Today, because of the efforts of every Victorian, that's exactly what we've been able to achieve."

Victoria recorded no new cases of COVID-19 today, with just one active case in the entire state.

The easing of restrictions also comes as New South Wales opens its borders to Victoria overnight.

Updated at 10.09am AEDT on 23 November 2020.

South Australia cuts lockdown short, restrictions to ease from midnight Saturday

South Australia cuts lockdown short, restrictions to ease from midnight Saturday

South Australia's lockdown was made on a "false premise" and has been cut short by three days after SA Health determined a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case had lied to authorities.

As such, from midnight on Saturday night the state will return to restrictions imposed earlier this week, meaning stay at home orders will be revoked and venues will be permitted to reopen.

The individual who mislead authorities was a close contact of the case who worked both at the Peppers medi-hotel and at the Woodville Pizza Bar, but it is not yet clear why they lied.

SA's Premier Steven Marshall said he was "fuming" that this could have happened. But today's announcement is positive for many businesses that will be permitted to reopen this weekend, while exercise will be allowed effective immediately within the family unit.

From midnight Saturday hospitality venues will be allowed to reopen with the one person per four square metre rule and a capacity of 100 people at a time.

Funerals will be allowed to have 50 mourners in attendance, weddings will be able to resume with up to 100 guests, but dancing and standing consumption of alcohol will be banned.

Private gatherings at venues will be capped at 50 people, while 10 people will be allowed to gather in private residences.

Masks will still be encouraged but not mandatory, gyms will be allowed to reopen from midnight on Saturday, and schools will return as normal from Monday morning.

The state will revert to restrictions in place before the Parafield COVID-19 outbreak from 1 December, the date SA intends to reopen borders to Victorians.

It comes as SA records three new cases of COVID-19 today, all in quarantine, but the state's chief health officer Dr Nicola Spurrier expects that number to rise over the coming days.

There are now 25 cases linked to the cluster, and SA Health has reported there are 44 suspected cases of COVID-19.

Additionally, there are 4,500 South Australians in quarantine for a full 14 days as they are close contacts of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.

Dr Spurrier said she was pleased with the efforts of South Australians over the course of this week, but reiterates SA Health has a number of contacts to trace before restrictions are eased on Saturday.

"We are not out of the woods yet," she said.

"We still have a significant number of contacts and contacts of close contacts because we are doing that double ring-fencing or 'sandbagging' as it were around everybody who is a case."

According to SA's Police Commissioner Grant Stevens the state would not have gone into lockdown if the close contact of a COVID-19 had lied to authorities.

Stevens has denied the decision to place SA into total lockdown was an overreaction, as authorities erred on the side of caution based on the information available to them at the time.

"This person told us they went in and bought a pizza, and you can imagine the difference in the scenario that unfolds from that scenario compared to working several shifts alongside other people and engaging with other people...customers, delivery drivers," Stevens said.

"It changes the situation completely for us, and we now have to place significant efforts in to tie that up.

Stevens said SA now needed to move past this.

"We need to keep doing what we're doing so that we actually crush this particular cluster and get back to where we were before the 15th of November, and aim for the 1st of December where we see ourselves getting ready for Christmas and spending time with our families," he said.

The Police Commissioner said the individual will not be hit with a penalty as it is not an offence to lie to contact tracers.

Dr Spurrier said the state had brought in additional contact tracers to manage the evolving situation in SA, and would deploy the best of the best to get on top of the outbreak.

"One of the things that makes contact tracing interviews most sucessful is when we can develop trust between the person that's doing the interviewing and the person on the end of the phone," she said.

"The absolute majoruty, the vast majority of people that have provided information to us have done it, giving us as complete information as they possibly can and have trusted us with that information."

The news comes as the world has recorded 642,464 new cases of COVID-19 and 10,703 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Updated at 12.21pm AEDT on 20 November 2020.

Mesoblast, Novartis sign commercialisation deal for COVID-19 treatment

Mesoblast, Novartis sign commercialisation deal for COVID-19 treatment

Australian pharmaceutical company Mesoblast (ASX: MSB) has penned an exclusive worldwide licence and collaboration agreement with Novartis for the manufacture and commercialisation of proposed COVID-19 treatment remestemcel-L.

As part of the deal Switzerland-based Novartis will make a US$50 million (AUD$68.7 million) upfront payment to Mesoblast.

Following the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical trial, Novartis will fully fund the global clinical development of the drug.

In addition, Mesoblast may receive a total of US$505 million (AUD$694 million) pending achievement of pre-commercialisation milestones for remestemcel-L and a further US$750 million (AUD$1 billion) based on achieving certain sales milestones.

Mesoblast will retain full rights for the use of remestemcel-L for treatment of graft versus host disease.

Over the course of this year Mesoblast has been developing the drug for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) the principal cause of death for COVID-19 patients.

Mesoblast chief executive Dr Silviu Itescu said the partnership with Novatis will make remestemcel-L available for patients suffering from the condition.

"Our collaboration with Novartis will help ensure that remestemcel-L could become available to the many patients suffering from ARDS, the principal cause of mortality in COVID-19 infection," Dr Itescu said.

"This agreement is in line with our corporate strategy to collaborate and partner with world-leading major pharma companies in order to maximise market access for our innovative cellular medicines."

Remestemcel-L is currently being studied in COVID-19 related ARDS in an ongoing 300-patient Phase 3 study.

Novartis intends to initiate a Phase 3 study in non-COVID-related ARDS after the anticipated closing of the licence agreement and successful completion and outcome of the current study.

MSB shares rose by 12.5 per cer cent to $3.68 each during morning trading.

Updated at 10.53am AEDT on 20 November 2020.

Navigating the long road to recovery for Melbourne CBD

Navigating the long road to recovery for Melbourne CBD

Real estate investment is all about location and the city centre is not the place to be for retail and hospitality businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Melbourne's CBD office vacancy rate has climbed to 11.3 per cent according to and business owners are surviving on as little as 10 per cent of regular trade.

One million workers, shoppers and tourists visited Melbourne daily at the start of 2020, but a recent Roy Morgan poll showed movement is now at just 15 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp was re-elected on a platform to revitalise the city centre but the reality is CBD businesses are suffering from the absence of people.

Since the start of the pandemic, hundreds of shops have been vacated and it's difficult to see a recovery in any meaningful way until the second half of next year at least.

A revival is partly dependent on vaccines becoming available but also changing the attitudes of workers and employers.

Not everyone will return to the office and abandon the flexibility of working from home, and CBD shops will struggle for a significant period yet even as restrictions are lifted.

High streets and smaller retail centres with significant independent retailers as tenants have suffered as the smaller retailers have struggled to trade through the pandemic, leaving 'for lease' signs across many retail hubs.

However, in other Melbourne's suburbs and regional areas of Victoria with larger corporate tenancies, it's a different story. High streets that have retained their tenants are trading strongly and benefitting from an increase in foot traffic.

There may be opportunities for retailers to move into a high street or smaller suburban commercial areas, although the recovery at big suburban shopping centres is also gathering pace.

Big suburban shopping centres still have rental deals that underpin their operating costs and they will thrive, even if all they do is pick up foot traffic no longer concentrated in the CBD.

However, stalwart brands including Katies, Rivers and Riot Art & Craft are disappearing, an indicator of the intensifying pressure on traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.

Despite improving trade and high consumer confidence in Victoria, a gap is widening between small and big retailers. Larger businesses have captured a majority of the extra online sales during the last six months.

The online sector is arguably performing more strongly now than earlier in the year. August was a big month for e-commerce, with $500m more in sales than in the surge back in April before it came off the boil slightly in September.

Apart from April, big businesses recorded through-the-year growth in every month since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Since March, the average through-the-year growth for larger businesses was 10.9 per cent, up from 5.0 per cent over the previous six months.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, smaller organisations had only one month, July, where they recorded through-the-year growth. Small businesses have recorded an average fall in sales of 6.7 per cent since March 2020, down from -1.6 per cent over the previous six months.

It's clear that big businesses had the platforms and the brand awareness capitalise on the disruption caused by the virus, and they've picked up the online business.

Achieving cut-through for a small retailer is difficult because they may have an online site but the site itself is only a billboard, they've got to be able to draw people in.

Large retailers already had a captive audience, with strong communication channels and engagement from their existing customer base.

Smaller players must build up that following to compete, and that takes time and money.

Updated at 9.54am AEDT on 20 November 2020.

Mark Harrison is a partner/executive director at national accounting and business advisory firm Pitcher Partners.

Victoria sets hard border with South Australia

Victoria sets hard border with South Australia

A hard border to South Australians attempting to travel into Victoria will be implemented for 48 hours from midnight tonight, before a permit system comes into effect on Sunday.

The Victorian Government hopes the temporary measure will protect the population after the state went 20 days with zero new cases of COVID-19 today.

South Australia is currently in total lockdown for six days, with only essential businesses allowed to operate, as health authorities scramble to contain a northern suburbs outbreak of COVID-19.

"Victorians have worked too hard and given too much to allow anything to put at risk our goal of reaching COVID Normal by Christmas. We'll do whatever it takes to keep Victorians safe," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"We know border communities have had an incredibly difficult year and we don't take these decisions lightly.

"Our public health team will work closely with South Australia to monitor the outbreak and get the border back open as soon as it's safe to do so." 

The new rules come as South Australia has reported zero new cases of COVID-19 overnight.

Under the hard border rules only freight drivers and those with medical or emergency reasons, urgent animal welfare or those authorised by law will be able to pass through the border.

The border permit system is currently being devised, but the reasons to enter Victoria from South Australia from midnight Sunday will include:

  • if you are an emergency services worker or a worker providing essential services
  • for agricultural work
  • to receive medical care (including seeking coronavirus testing), obtain medical supplies or compassionate reasons
  • to shop to obtain essential supplies.

From today, interstate truck drivers travelling through Victoria from South Australia will be offered extra testing at a site at Nhill on the Western Highway.

Other testing sites are being activated at other major freight routes. Drivers can also be tested at more than 193 other sites across Victoria.

"We're working with major freight companies, independent operators and industry peak bodies to provide advice about the need for testing and all tested will have their samples fast-tracked for analysis," says the Victorian Government.

"The Victorian Government will continue to monitor the SA outbreak and take whatever action is necessary to keep Victorians safe.

"Our Victorian Public Health team is also supporting SA contact tracers as they continue to track and trace the spread of the virus."

The restrictions come as Victorian health officials have discovered fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 in untreated wastewater taken from Portland and Benalla treatment plants on Tuesday 17 November.

As such, residents of Portland and Benalla have been urged to get tested for COVID-19 and isolate until a result is processed.

"We'll work with these communities to ensure they have access to the things they need, as we provide further details on border crossings in the coming days," Victorian Minster for Health Martin Foley said.

Updated at 1.16pm AEDT on 19 November 2020.

South Australia's 6-day lockdown shows we need to take hotel quarantine more seriously

South Australia's 6-day lockdown shows we need to take hotel quarantine more seriously

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall today announced a six-day "circuit breaker" lockdown to try and snuff out the state's COVID outbreak.

From midnight Wednesday, residents will be asked to stay in their homes. Hospitality venues will shut, as will schools and universities. Construction will grind to a halt and exercise won't be allowed outside the home.

The only permitted reasons to leave home are to shop for food or medicine, or for essential health care. Elective surgery will be paused, except for urgent operations.

There are now 22 cases linked to the cluster that emerged from hotel quarantine, and a further seven suspected cases.

Why lockdown?

While this may seem like an overly cautious approach to a cluster that isn't yet as big as we've seen in other places, I think it's a wise move.

This is how lockdowns should be used. Indeed, the World Health Organisation advocates lockdowns as a way to buy precious time while other essential public health measures are mobilised, such as contact tracing and widespread testing. The focus here is on preventing a rise in cases, unlike the lockdown in Melbourne where the cases had already taken off widely in the community and it was about turning the wave around.

We've seen the virus in this particular cluster spread very rapidly. In just two weeks it has spread through five generations that is, to five "rings" beyond the initial case.

We've also seen cases passed on through quite casual contact, via a pizza shop in the suburb of Woodville.

The state's chief health officer, Nicola Spurrier, said:

This particular strain has [] a very, very short incubation period. That means when somebody gets exposed, it is taking 24 hours or even less for that person to become infectious to others, and the other characteristic of the cases we have seen so far is they have had minimal symptoms and sometimes no symptoms but have been able to pass it on to others.

This short incubation period and rapid spread is why the government has opted for a six-day lockdown, giving the space to put out the spot fire while protecting the wider community, and especially high-risk settings and vulnerable populations where cases numbers can escalate rapidly with serious consequences.

Also, as Spurrier said, the cases so far have had no, or very mild, symptoms. So this six-day window allows the testing of close and casual contacts to be completed so the cases that are out there become visible to the health department.

The decision to restrict exercise altogether is strict, but warranted in my view. The rationale is similar to putting a wide range of people into isolation, as they don't yet know where the edge is of the current cases, or the full extent of exposure. The rationale for the extension of restrictions beyond Adelaide and surrounds to the whole state is less clear at this stage.

If it protects the population from an escalation of cases, then six days without outdoor exercise will ultimately be better for physical and mental health than longer strict rules, even with some exercise allowed.

Significant restrictions will remain after the six days, but not full lockdown, according to the state's Police Commissioner Grant Stevens.

Read more: South Australia's COVID outbreak: what we know so far, and what needs to happen next

The good news

The good news is there have been no mystery cases so far. All positive cases have been linked back to hotel quarantine at the Peppers Waymouth Hotel (known as a "medi-hotel" locally).

Testing rates have been very high. Some 5,300 tests were done on Monday, and more than 6,000 on Tuesday. This number of tests is comparable to three or four times that number in a larger city like Melbourne. Local residents have been very patient in queuing up to get tested, sometimes for several hours.

South Australia's contact tracing team hasn't really been severely tested during the pandemic. But the team has received extensive training and is reportedly robust, having been given the tick of approval from Chief Scientist Alan Finkel's recent review into Australia's contact tracing, published last Friday.

Read more: Exponential growth in COVID cases would overwhelm any state's contact tracing. Australia needs an automated system

More than 4,000 people have been quarantined already, including not just contacts, but contacts of contacts, and even beyond that to ensure "casual contacts" are also followed up and tested. This is a sign of a rapid and strong public health response.

What needs to change?

Before this cluster, testing was not mandatory for hotel quarantine staff although this has now changed to compulsory weekly testing.

This is a positive step, but in my view we should ideally start testing hotel quarantine staff daily.

Getting a nasal swab every day is quite intrusive, so I think we could use saliva tests instead. Yes, they don't have quite the same level of sensitivity as the "gold standard" PCR tests based on nose and throat swabs, but they're more tolerable for frequent testing.

Saliva samples can also be efficiently managed if pooled together, and if there's evidence of a positive test in the broad sample, individual samples can then be checked. Testing early and often is the best approach.

We also need to get serious about resourcing our hotel workers. Spurrier confirmed some workers had worked at multiple sites. This obviously increases the risk of the virus spreading through the community we saw this with some aged-care staff working across multiple venues in Victoria.

We need to prevent workers from needing to work across multiple sites, by paying them more. Even if they're not working full-time, they need to be paid as such to ensure they don't need to take on extra work and increase the risk of spreading the virus to other workplaces. This goes for all staff security staff as well as cleaners. Cleaners have a very important job and are particularly vulnerable.

I'd like to see national guidelines crafted for hotel quarantine. Today there is national agreement on weekly testing, but I think this should be a minimum. Infection control protocols and monitoring, and pay rates with accompanying sole employment rules also need to be considered. It's an issue that isn't going to go away, and it's an important gap that needs to be filled.

Read more: How's your life under lockdown? Tweets tell the tale of how neighbourhoods compare The Conversation

Catherine Bennett, Chair in Epidemiology, Deakin University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now 95 per cent effective

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now 95 per cent effective

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTZ) has demonstrated efficacy of 95 per cent following Phase 3 trials.

Efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics, and the vaccine is effective in adults over 65 years of age in 94 per cent of cases.

There were 10 severe cases of COVID-19 observed in the trial, with nine of the cases occurring in the placebo group and one in the vaccinated group.

The pharmaceutical company has developed a specially designed, temperature-controlled thermal shippers using dry ice to maintain temperature conditions of minus 70°C.

Pfizer says these containers can be used for 15 days by refilling with dry ice, and each includes a GPS-enabled thermal sensor to track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment across their pre-set routes.

"The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic," Pfizer chairman and CEO Dr Albert Borula said.

"We continue to move at the speed of science to compile all the data collected thus far and share with regulators around the world.

"With hundreds of thousands of people around the globe infected every day, we urgently need to get a safe and effective vaccine to the world."

Pfizer is expecting to produce 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

Earlier this month the Australian Federal Government announced it had secured 10 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine candidate.

Australia has also secured 40 million doses of the Novavax nanoparticle vaccine and 51 million doses of a vaccine candidate developed by CSL (ASX: CSL) and the University of Queensland.

Updated at 10.00am AEDT on 19 November 2020.

South Australia to shut down for six days on COVID-19 outbreak fears

South Australia to shut down for six days on COVID-19 outbreak fears

From midnight tonight all but essential businesses will close, and people must remain inside for six days in South Australia as authorities enforce wide-ranging restrictions to curb an outbreak of COVID-19.

The state will go on "pause" for six days as public health authorities engage in a contact tracing blitz to get on top of a COVID-19 outbreak

That outbreak has since grown by two more cases today, and health authorities have determined it was sparked by a medi-hotel security guard working part time at the Woodville Pizza Bar.

Masks must be worn when leaving the house, however the state's health officials have encouraged all South Australians to remain at home.

Only one person per household per day will be allowed to leave the house to go grocery shopping.

Schools and universities will close, takeaway food restaurants will not be allowed to operate, and pubs, cafes and coffee shops must shut their doors.

Weddings and funerals will be banned, outdoor sport and exercise will not be permitted, aged care facilities will go into total lockdown, and the construction sector and factories must shut down.

Fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers have been put on standstill, regional travel has been completely banned, and holiday homes will not be available for lease.

Essential services including supermarkets, medical and mental health services, petrol stations, post offices and financial institutions will be allowed to continue to operate. End of life visits will be allowed during the period.

"We need a circuit breaker," SA Premier Steven Marshall said.

"We are going hard and we are going early. Time is of the essence, and we must act swiftly and decisively. We cannot wait to see how bad this becomes."

Marshall says the state has welcomed contact tracing help from the Commonwealth Government, Western Australia and from New South Wales to get on top of the outbreak.

Measures "extreme" but necessary

The state's chief health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier has acknowledged the lockdown measures are "extreme", but insists they are necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

Some restrictions will remain in place for a further eight days at least once the six-day lockdown period is over.

"It really is extreme. And then after that we need 14 days in total in terms of the incubation period of the virus and the number of generations, so we've had to sit down and mathematically work it out," Professor Spurrier said.

"So for a 14-day period there will be significant restrictions, but my hope is that it should not need to be what we have done for the six days."

"I was also very surprised that we didn't have a little pockets in our community that popped up from time to time, but clearly if it is reintroduced into a community it takes off very quickly. And that's exactly what had happened in Victoria. I don't want that to happen here in South Australia and I'm going to do everything possible to make sure that it doesn't happen."

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens acknowledges the strict rules will be difficult to police, so he has called upon the community in the state to take responsibility during the lockdown period.

"Policing can only provide so much in terms of providing a safe environment for the community; it relies on the community doing the right thing and supporting each other, so our expectation is people will do the right thing, they'll abide by this extreme level of imposition for a short period of time and help us do our job," Stevens said.

"Clearly, if you're out and about during these six days, you should have the ability to justify your reason for your travel.

"We will be out there and we will be making sure people are doing the right thing."

COVID-19 strain spreading fast in SA

According to Spurrier the particular strain of COVID-19 circulating in SA has a short incubation period, meaning when somebody is exposed it takes 24 hours or less for that person to become infectious to others.

Because of the short incubation period Spurrier says the virus is currently in its fifth generation in the community.

"We don't have any time to wait," Spurrier said.

"If I just thought about this all day and then told the Police Commissioner and the Premier tonight we would already be 12 hours behind."

"If we leave this any longer and if we have people moving around the community and having a lot of contact with other people then we're going to be in this for the long haul."

Medi-hotel outbreak

Professor Spurrier also explained COVID-19 escaped from Adelaide's medi-hotels because a security guard was working at both the Peppers Hotel and part-time making pizza.

"We also had the person at the Stamford, and we couldn't connect the two," Spurrier said.

"But what we found last night was another person that worked at the pizza bar and we were able to connect those two because of time links."

Police Commissioner Stevens said there were no rules or restrictions to stop a medi-hotel security guard from working a second job part time.

"We are relying heavily on the security industry, and they are supporting us to a substantial level to ensure that we are maintaining a safe as possible environment in the medi-hotel.

"We can't quarantine these people [guards] when they're not at work. They are able to participate in normal community activities now whether that's participating in sport or taking on another part time job, the level of engagement with the community in terms of how they do that is irrelevant.

"We can't quarantine these people simply because they're assisting us by working in quarantine hotels."

Stay at home, Adelaide

Spurrier has encouraged South Australians to hunker down for the next six days until the situation comes under control.

"This is going to put a lot of strain on many people, and this is the time to be patient, to be calm and to trust in people that are there to support you," Spurrier said.

"We all need to look after each other there's no point panicking and rushing out to the shops and buying up lots of toilet paper.

"We are really at the beginning of this in South Australia and I need everybody to basically find a safe place to be for the next six days, and stay there as much as possible."

South Australians will be permitted to leave the home for testing, but health authorities will prioritise those who have been told to get tested by the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB).

"So the one thing that we definitely want people to do is during this six-day period is to get tested, but we are going to prioritise our testing," Spurrier said.

Updated at 1.16pm AEDT on 18 November 2020.