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Former SA premier Jay Weatherill tests positive to COVID-19

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Former South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has tested positive for Covid-19, sending parliament into a shutdown while contact tracing is underway.

Mr Weatherill was at an event on Saturday from which the state recorded three new Covid cases, two in SA residents who attended with interstate travelers.

SA Health says it is believed the two men in their 50s caught the virus from an interstate traveler.

The Advertiser understands they were at the same school reunion event at the Norwood Theatre Bugs building in Adelaide’s east on Saturday and that Mr Weatherill, who had flown in from Perth where he now lives, was present. He was notified of his test result just before 8pm on Wednesday and is understood to be in quarantine in Tom’s Court medi-hotel in the city.

Mr Weatherill had been in isolation after SA Health declared the theatre building a close contact exposure location for those who were there between 2pm on Saturday and 2am on Sunday.

The new Norwood cluster – the state’s seventh outbreak – means SA’s parliament will be adjourned on Thursday morning and MPs and staff have been advised to avoid in person meetings while contact tracing is under way.

“Further advice in relation to the afternoon session will be provided tomorrow (Friday) morning when the situation becomes clearer,” a letter sent to MPs said.

“This incident is a timely reminder that all Members and staff of parliament should be fully vaccinated to keep themselves, their loved ones and their community safe.”

It comes as the Education Department confirmed Ocean View P-12 College at Taperoo would be closed on Thursday after “a member of the school community” tested positive.

“We encourage staff and students to monitor for any Covid-19 symptoms, test if symptomatic and isolate until you receive a negative result,” the department said in a tweet.

However, a spokesman from the Education Department said the closure of the school was due to staffing levels rather than potential virus exposure at the school. “We had so many staff caught up with it we couldn’t adequately staff the school,” the spokesman said.

Mr Weatherill had lunch with Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas and former Attorney-General John Rau at Parlamento Italian restaurant on Monday.

SA Governor Frances Adamson also met with Weatherill on Sunday afternoon, according to the Vice-Regal diary.

Mr Weatherill also conducted media and radio interviews and had meetings with business and community leaders.

“Upon hearing this news, out of an abundance of caution, I cancelled my planned appearance at a High School graduation tonight,” Mr Malinauskas said in a tweet on Wednesday night. “Subsequently, upon hearing the news this evening that Jay Weatherill had tested positive, I immediately left parliament at 8.20pm and went to Victoria Park to get tested.”

“I will isolate while I await the test results and further advice from SA Health.”

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Mr Malinauskas said he tested negative.

“I’m happy to report that SA pathology have messaged me advising my Covid test result is negative,” he said. “While I’m relieved by this news, my thoughts are with those South Australians who have now got Covid. Now that the virus is in SA, it is more important than ever people get vaccinated.”

 

Original content from Adelaide Now and The Australian respectively. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

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