SA virus numbers down again

The SA opposition wants people who breach COVID-19 isolation to be fitted with tracking devices.
The SA opposition wants people who breach COVID-19 isolation to be fitted with tracking devices.

The number of "imported" coronavirus cases from interstate or overseas is declining but authorities say South Australia must be vigilant against the potential for wider community transmission.

Only two new cases were reported in SA on Sunday, taking the state's total to 409.

Nineteen people are in hospital with nine of those in intensive care.

In one of SA's most concerning clusters, the number of Qantas baggage handlers to test positive to COVID-19 now stands at 17 with a further 11 cases among close contacts.

Deputy public health officer Mike Cusack said authorities were pleased with the low number of new cases but cautioned it could rise again in the coming days and weeks.

"We have seen a lot of imported disease, either from interstate or overseas," he said.

"Once that tap is switched off you would expect there to be a decline."

But he said it was still "very early days" in the pandemic across Australia and there was a risk the virus could spread more widely in the community.

"That's why it's been so vitally important that we get the public to understand why they should distance themselves," Dr Cusack said.

"It is early days but perhaps that (community effort on restrictions) is starting to bleed through into the numbers."

So far, South Australia has conducted 38,863 tests, many of those in drive-though and dedicated clinics.

Officials say it gives the state one of the highest testing regimes anywhere in the world and helps explain the state's strong performance so far.

Also on Sunday, the Labor opposition announced plans to introduce legislation to parliament to force anyone breaching self-isolation or quarantine orders to wear an electronic tracking device.

Labor will this week introduce urgent legislation that will allow police to issue the device, with those who continue to flout the law facing a $1000 fine.

Anyone who tampers with the device faces a fine of up to $12,000 or up to 12 months in prison.

Western Australia has introduced similar laws.

"Most people are doing the right thing, but for those who do not, forcing them to wear an electronic device is a sensible measure to help stop the spread," opposition legal affairs spokesman Kyam Maher said.

At the same time, the state government announced plans to fast-track the appointment of 97 new paramedics.

"Just like our firefighters and volunteers were the heroes during the bushfires, our nurses, midwives, doctors, and paramedics will be the heroes who are protecting us on the frontline against the coronavirus pandemic," Health Minister Stephen Wade said.

"These new recruits are the next generation of heroes."

Australian Associated Press