Release date: 04/05/2022

SA moves to lift COVID emergency management declaration with State’s most vulnerable protected.

The Malinauskas Labor Government is on track to lift the emergency management declaration imposed on South Australia, introducing legislation to amend the Public Health Act.

The Government intends to lift the emergency management declaration by 30 June 2022 following the passage of amendments to the Public Health Act, enabling SA to move out of a state of emergency and return to a relative normal.

The legislation has been drafted in consultation with the Emergency Management Council, which includes State Co-ordinator Grant Stevens and Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier.

This follows the Malinauskas Government removing COVID restrictions, with close contacts of COVID cases no longer having to quarantine, and masks only required for high-risk settings including hospitals.

While the Government will end the declaration, there are some measures that will be carried over to protect the most vulnerable South Australians in high-risk settings who are most at risk of serious illness if they contract COVID.

Legislation will be introduced to amend the Public Health Act 2011 to ensure these measures can continue including vaccination, mask wearing, and other infection control measures in hospitals, aged and disability care, and other healthcare settings.

The amendments will also allow specific requirements to be set for COVID positive people and close contacts.

The Government will ensure this amended legislation is not as broad in power but is limited to specific settings, and compared with the emergency declaration, this legislation does not allow for the imposition of restrictions such as lockdowns, hospitality restrictions and broad mask mandates. This would require the declaration of another emergency.


Quotes

Attributable to Premier Peter Malinauskas

This Government has already acted to remove COVID restrictions including most mandatory requirements for mask wearing, and close contact quarantine measures.

The next step will be ending the emergency management declaration.

South Australians have been subject to the declaration for more than two years, and now it is time for it to end and for a baseline of key protections to transition to the Public Health Act.

When the declaration ends, it is important that we still have some protections in place for our most vulnerable South Australians.

The most appropriate way we can do this is to amend the Public Health Act to include protections for patients and residents in aged care, hospitals and disability care, and the ability for rules to be set for COVID positive people and close contacts.

We also need to ensure that we keep our most vulnerable as safe as possible from COVID.

These South Australians are most at risk from being seriously ill if they contract COVID.

Attributable to Health and Wellbeing Minister Chris Picton

Continuing with these measures in high-risk settings will also enable SA Health to monitor and keep on top of any outbreaks and to act quickly to protect South Australians.

This will also support health, disability and aged care operators in protecting their patients and residents and preventing outbreaks of COVID in aged care homes, disability care homes and hospitals and other health settings.