No new restrictions on the horizon as SA approaches ‘back to normal’

The state’s Emergency Management Council has received a “high-level” briefing on new Omicron sub-variants but is not considering reintroducing restrictions, with Police Commissioner and State Coordinator Grant Stevens saying South Australia is “very close to normal life.” “is.

SA Health confirmed last Monday that one case of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants had been discovered in South Australia by two international travelers.

The two subvariants are believed to be approximately 25 percent more transmissible than the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron and also more capable of reinfection.

Stevens said the Emergency Management Council, the cabinet’s subcommittee responsible for managing COVID-19, received a “very high-level briefing” this morning on the emergence of the new sub-variants from South Africa.

“There was discussion about Omicron BA.4 and 5, but at this point there wasn’t a lot of information that gives conclusive direction in terms of how that might affect,” he told reporters after the meeting.

Asked whether the briefing raised concerns for authorities, Stevens said “no concerns have been raised by new variants at this time”.

“And there was no discussion or even any contemplation about making changes to the directions as they affect operations in South Australia,” he said.

SA Health reported three COVID-19 deaths today and a further 3,683 cases – up from 2,986 infections yesterday.

The number of PCR tests has also increased 33 percent in the past 24 hours. The number of people in hospital fell from 228 to 221, with six people in intensive care and one on a ventilator.

The BA.2 Omicron subvariant is currently the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the state, with SA Health reporting that 94.9 percent of genome samples are the BA.2 strain.

The subvariant saw South Australia’s daily cases peak in April with more than 6,000 infections.

It comes as the government of Malinauskas’ June 30 deadline for withdrawing the state’s major emergency declaration approaches.

The statement, which gives Stevens broad powers to enact COVID-19 restrictions as state coordinator, will be replaced by changes to the Public Health Act that will allow the government to continue to enforce restrictions, such as a seven-day quarantine for COVID-positive patients. mask mandates for high-risk institutions and vaccination mandates for health professionals.

The amendments to the Public Health Act sailed through the House of Representatives last week but are expected to face a longer debate in the Senate, where the Liberal opposition has said it “reserves our right to consider and raise matters further.” set”.

Asked about his thoughts on the bill, Stevens said: “I think everyone would like to see a change in management structure for COVID-19”

“We’re almost back to normal, so we need to make sure we have the right mechanism in place to continue to manage the impact of COVID in our community,” he said.

When asked if he expected his powers as state coordinator to be removed this month, Stevens said it depends on when the amending bill is passed by parliament.

“We’re just waiting to see how that unfolds – we can’t predict the outcome of the parliamentary process,” he said.

The EMC will meet next week to discuss mask requirements for students.

“There was a brief discussion about masks in schools and that’s on the agenda for the next meeting for a decision on what that looks like for the students,” Stevens said.

Mask requirements for students ages 7-12 and all adults on campus are currently scheduled to remain in place through May 30.

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