South Australia has reported 18 coronavirus cases, in an outbreak that has forced the state’s new governor and the Opposition Leader into isolation.
Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said 16 of Thursday’s cases were linked to one event – believed to be a high school reunion – at suburban Norwood last weekend.
The other two involved travellers from interstate.
All cases who attended the Norwood event were fully vaccinated. They include former SA premier Jay Weatherill.
The cluster has forced 210 close contacts to quarantine for seven days but officials expect that number to increase.
“It’s quite clear we do have COVID in our state now,” Professor Spurrier said.
“This looks as though it was linked to someone coming from NSW. But I think there will be other chains of transmission.”
“This disease is a real leveller. It can affect anyone.”
Professor Spurrier said SA was in a “transitional” stage as she urged everyone to follow coronavirus restrictions and protections, including hand-washing and social distancing.
Among the close contacts forced into isolation are Governor Frances Adamson, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas and his deputy Susan Close.
They have all tested negative, but under current rules must isolate for seven days.
Because of the virus scare, Health SA initially advised the parliament it should not sit on Thursday.
But Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan told the house on Thursday morning that revised advice indicated it could resume.
Among the state’s 47 MPs, only the deputy premier, leader of opposition business Tom Koutsantonis and independent MP Frances Bedford were in the chamber for the brief session.
“In the last short while advice has been received saying that parliament can now sit,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.
“But because many MPs would not be available to sit right now because they were following the first set of health advice, I am reliably informed that it will not be possible for the house to make up a quorum at this point in time.”
Speaker Dan Cregan ruled the house would reconvene on Thursday afternoon.
Earlier, Government House confirmed Ms Adamson had tested negative.
“As a close contact, she will nonetheless isolate within Government House for as long as advised by SA Health,” a statement said.
Mr Malinauskas and Ms Close also confirmed their negative tests after having contact with Mr Weatherill.
Exposure sites linked to the cases include a theatre venue in suburban Norwood, a seafood restaurant, a cafe in Adelaide’s CBD and the Business SA headquarters in Unley.
Under current arrangements, SA is open to vaccinated travellers from all states and territories, with some requirements for testing and quarantine.
Premier Steven Marshall said all travellers from NSW would have to be tested on arrival in SA, as another Omicron case was confirmed in Sydney on Thursday.
“We’ll be monitoring the situation particularly in NSW extraordinarily carefully, we’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis,” Mr Marshall said.
He said he had always maintained reopening SA’s borders would lead to cases and the outbreak so far was in line with the modelling.
“We’ve got this, we’ve worked very hard to make sure South Australia is COVID ready before opening the borders,” he said.
International arrivals to SA are required to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of where they come from.
Local restrictions, such as mandatory mask-wearing on public transport and in most venues, also remain.