Coronavirus (2)

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:08): My question is to the Premier. Can the Premier update the house on the measures that the government is taking to flatten the curve and minimise the impact of COVID-19 in South Australia?

The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL (Dunstan—Premier) (14:09): I thank the member for Hammond for his excellent question. He is interested—

The Hon. S.C. Mullighan interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Lee is on the board.

The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL: —in what we can do in South Australia to flatten the curve in South Australia to reduce the peak and push it out as far into the future as possible—as I am sure all members in this parliament would be. One of the principal elements of making sure that we can tackle the coronavirus is that we have expert testing and data available to control this disease. For that work, I very much thank SA Pathology, led by their chief clinician, Dr Tom Dodd, who has done an outstanding job in setting up an enviable world-class testing regime in South Australia.

To date, I think we have now sailed past 18,000 tests in South Australia, which puts us second-highest in the world—significantly higher than any other jurisdiction in Australia, significantly higher than South Korea which is often held up by people in the media as having the best testing regime. We are significantly better per head of population than them. We are doing two types of testing. One for the COVID-19 target market but also one to look at community transmissions, and that's what gives us confidence that our data is accurate.

We have set up testing stations right across the state, rapid testing assessment clinics, and I think this provides us with an excellent opportunity to give access to those people who need it, including the great innovation of a drive-through clinic at the Repat, which has now been replicated at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre. Of course, we are all aware that there are more restrictions coming into play now and that's all designed to make sure that we are social distancing and that we are doing everything we can do to make sure that we can control the spread. We fully appreciate that some of these measures are extraordinarily inconvenient for people but we know that if we apply these we are going to save lives.

This morning I had to communicate with Cheryl Cates, who is the president of the RSL in South Australia and the Northern Territory, and it was with much regret that I had to say that as of midnight tonight RSLs in South Australia will have to close their doors. This is particularly difficult in the lead-up to ANZAC Day, but Cheryl understood. The RSL understands that our most important task at the moment is to protect the lives of our vulnerable citizens, and our veterans fall into some of those cohorts, and they will certainly be abiding by that.

Some people have queried why we are reducing the number of people who can attend weddings and funerals. It seems extraordinarily harsh when somebody cannot have the number of people they want to have at a family funeral. The reality is that if we look at the super outbreaks, the super spread events, in Australia since COVID-19 came, the number one was a wedding and the number two was a funeral. It seems extraordinarily tough, extraordinarily harsh, but we are only doing these things to do what we can to slow the spread of this disease.

Last night, the national cabinet met. The Prime Minister updated the people of Australia immediately after that with a range of new restrictions. Again, I know that this is having a devastating effect on our economy in Australia. There have been two major stimulus packages at the federal level. South Australia was the first to move on a local stimulus package designed to get work out into the market as quickly as possible.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. Z.L. Bettison interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order, member for Ramsay!

The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL: The cabinet is now working very diligently to provide a second stimulus package. We are going to be doing everything we can to protect as many lives as we can. Cabinet met on Sunday. It met again on Monday, yesterday, today and will be meeting tomorrow. I can't imagine another time when the cabinet has met five times in five days. Everybody is working as diligently as they possibly can to make sure that we can provide that stimulus and support that South Australians need at this time.

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