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Pizza shop worker is not the only person who lied to coronavirus authorities, police say

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The pizza bar worker whose fraud led to the blockade of the South Australian coronavirus last week is not the only person who has lied to the contact search authorities, the SA Police Commissioner has said.

South Australia was ordered last week in the strictest blockade imposed on any Australian state or territory since the start of the pandemic.

But on Friday, Commissioner Grant Stevens announced that the home stay order would be canceled three days earlier because it was partly based on false information given by a worker at Woodville Pizza Bar.

Health authorities today said the worker was “very remorseful” and was being offered mental health support while in quarantine at the hotel.

Police said the man initially told contact trackers that he ordered a pizza from the store, but later admitted he had been working there, dramatically changing the risk assessment by the SA COVID-19 Transition Committee.

But Commissioner Stevens told ABC Radio Adelaide the workshop whose actions prompted police to launch a task force was not the only person being investigated for being untrue with authorities.

“We are investigating which at the moment makes it very difficult to reach the truth.”

Workshop that receives support

Police have been stationed at the Woodville Pizza Bar, which some social media users have threatened with vigilant action for its role in the blockade.

A pizza restaurant on a main road with a four-wheeled police car next to it
Woodville Pizza Bar has drawn harsh reactions due to the actions of a workshop.(ABC News: Simon Christie)

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurriers told the pizza worker a 36-year-old Spanish national who also worked at Stamford Plaza was being offered mental health support during his stay in the hotel quarantine.

She said while she was disappointed that the husband provided false information, her reaction to the misinformation was pragmatic.

“I was more focused on the implications this had for our tracking of the contact and if we could get out of the break safely sooner rather than think, look, I’m really crazy.

“[Those are] not the kind of emotions that help you in a pandemic. “

A woman stands in front of a lecture.  To its left is a screen with a graph of the coronavirus model.
Professor Spurrier said the blockage followed modeling showing the potential for a rapid explosion.(News ABC)

Professor Spurrier added that she “did not regret” the blocking recommendation when she did.

The commissioner asked if the blockage could be delayed

Commissioner Stevens also revealed that he was aware of the serious consequences of issuing a stay-at-home order and asked if it could be delayed.

But he said Professor Spurrier’s advice convinced him of what needed to be done quickly.

“The question was, ‘Can we wait 24 hours?’ “,” Said Commissioner Stevens.

“I was pleased that they had taken a considerable approach to this and they were asking for a level of restrictions that I believe are justified based on the information they had.”

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