The COVID-19 state of emergency declaration in South Australia has been lifted for the first time since March 22, 2020. The move, according to Premier Peter Malinauskas, was a “significant moment” for South Australia because the order had expired after 793 days.
The Cabinet’s Emergency Management Council (EMC) was informed that it was now safe for Police Commissioner Grant Stevens to repeal the pandemic laws, effectively ending his role as the state’s COVID response coordinator.
COVID-19 will now be managed under the state’s Public Health Act, with the EMC deciding on any further easing or tightening of restrictions. The new laws ensure that sweeping mask mandates and lockdowns are no longer part of the state’s public health response.
Premier Malinauskas promised before the election that the state of emergency would be lifted by June 30, but made the announcement in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon. The state of emergency was lifted at 12:25 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Today’s lifting of the Major Emergency Declaration would not have been possible without South Australians’ hard work and sacrifice over the last two years,” Mr Malinauskas said. “I want to thank Grant Stevens on behalf of the people of South Australia for his extraordinary service as State Co-ordinator since March 2020.”
Residents will be relieved that the state of emergency has been lifted. Chris Kidd is the photographer.
Mr Malinauskas lauded Commissioner Stevens, Health Minister Chris Picton, and Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier for their efforts to keep South Australians safe.
“Without a doubt,” he said, “Commissioner Stevens’ effort has been one of the highest quality displays of leadership in our state’s history.”
“We’ve witnessed Commissioner Stevens have to make some of the most difficult judgement calls in our state’s history.”
We should have no doubt that South Australians are still alive today as a result of the efforts of Grant Stevens, Nicola Spurrier, and others.” Despite the fact that the state of emergency had ended, the Premier reminded residents that the pandemic had not ended and that they should remain vigilant.
“We cannot afford to be complacent. “To protect our community, we must remain vigilant,” Mr Malinauskas said.
“This includes getting vaccinated, wearing masks when necessary, getting tested if ill, and quarantining if Covid positive.”
The new COVID-19 public health laws will require isolation, vaccination mandates, and mask wear in high-risk settings such as hospitals and health care facilities. New restrictions, such as lockdowns, density limit requirements, or mask mandates, will, however, necessitate a new emergency declaration.
The relaxation of restrictions comes as the state recorded 3,482 new infections and 23,279 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. COVID-19 has infected 232 people in hospitals, with nine in intensive care.