South Australia Police are investigating an employee of the Woodville Pizza Bar, Adelaide, who tested positive for COVID-19 and lied to contact tracers.
The employee, who initially claimed he was a customer, is a 36-year-old Spanish man, who is lawfully in Australia on a temporary graduate visa.
On Friday, Premier Steven Marshall revealed the employee’s lie, which triggered the investigation.
South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has revealed more details about the employee and confirmed police were investigating the pizza bar further.
He said, “There is a spotlight that has been shone on the pizza bar as a result of these circumstances. We are interested in speaking to at least two other people who we believe can assist us with our inquiries, and my investigators will remain in contact with those in due course.”
“I can’t elaborate any further in relation to the circumstances, this is obviously now an ongoing investigation,” Stevens added.
Officials initially believed that the employee man had contracted the virus after buying a pizza from the shop. However, they found that he had worked shifts at the shop where he was infected while working with a security guard who had contracted the virus at the Peppers Waymouth quarantine hotel in Adelaide’s CBD.
The employee also worked as a kitchen hand at the Stamford Hotel.
Stevens said it was “fair to say that had this person been more upfront with us we would not have instituted a six-day lockdown. This is the one element that pushed us from the level of restrictions we were implementing on Tuesday to a much harsher regime.”
“I think the actions in the first instance where appropriate … the contact tracing process is not as straightforward as people might expect it to be and the need to act quickly is always there,” he continued. “We are taking a fair and objective approach to this, we don’t go in with preconceived ideas from an investigative point of view.”
South Australia will be lifting its six-day lockdown early after only one new case was recorded today. The new case is the partner of an existing case, who is already in quarantine.
Chief Health Officer of SA Health Prof. Nicola Spurrier said, “They don’t pose any risk at all to the community.”
However, she said officials are still working to get in touch with 40 close contacts. “That is a big push today,” she said. The article originally appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald.