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Premier Peter Malinauskas said the state of emergency had officially ended just after midday local time today.
“It is a historic day,” he said.
He said aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, the longest state of emergency in the state’s history had only been for 11 days – that being for the severe rain and floods in the north of South Australia earlier this year.
The new amendments to the Public Health Act now mean that new restrictions can not be imposed, only reduced.
“The level of restrictions we have at the moment is the baseline from which we will hopefully only see easing,” he said.
But he admitted a new variant or other factors could prompt a new state of emergency.
The mandate for masks in schools will also lift at the end of the week.
However, they’re not going far.
Schools will be required to monitor case numbers in their student body. If more than 10 cases are found in one classroom, that school will see masks return.
The same will apply if more than five cases are found in five different classes across the school.
Malinauskas praised Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, upon whom most of the emergency powers were devolved in his role as coordinator of the state’s response to the pandemic.
The premier admitted the powers granted under the act were “incomprehensible” in normal circumstances.
“We hand over that authority because we have absolute confidence in the police commissioner to use those powers wisely,” he said.
Malinauskas, who was only elected premier in March, also thanked predecessor and electoral opponent, Steven Marshall, alongside Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier and the state’s health workers.
Your COVID-19 questions answered
Malinauskas and Stevens both warned that the pandemic had still not ended, with South Australia still recording about 3000 new COVID-19 cases a day.
Stevens admitted that when the emergency act had passed, he had not believed it would last so long.
“I thought, this being a global pandemic, we might need to get through the winter season, but I didn’t anticipate this,” he said.
He praised South Australians for their willingness to work together and endure some “very harsh” restrictions to manage the pandemic.