Lying pizza joint employee forced 1.7 million people into COVID-19 lockdown

November 20, 2020 

A pizza shop employee in Australia was caught delivering hot, fresh coronavirus to customers this week.

South Australia began the first of six days in lockdown on Wednesday, after local officials confirmed dozens of new cases of the virus -- a spike that the state of 1.7 million hadn't seen since April.

Woodville Pizza Bar, in Adelaide, was named a hot spot by contact tracers after learning that a supposedly highly contagious COVID-19 patient had visited the restaurant.

But after further investigation, local police commissioner Grant Stevens admitted Friday that the superspreader was, in fact, an employee at the restaurant. South Australian premier Steven Marshall put the blame on the unnamed worker's carelessness.

"SA health contact tracers found that one of the close contacts linked to the Woodville Pizza Bar deliberately misled the contact tracing team," Marshall said in a press conference. "We now know that they lied."

South Australian chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier announces restrictions being eased after a lie given to contact tracers about the Woodville Pizza Bar sparked panic.Getty Images

As a result, the state's stay-at-home order is due to be lifted at midnight Saturday.

"To say that I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement," he continued. "The selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation. His actions have affected businesses, individuals, family groups and is completely and utterly unacceptable."

Local authorities also defended their "swift" decision to shut down local businesses earlier this week.

"We are going hard and we are going early," Marshall told ABC Australia reporters at the time. "Time is of the essence and we must act swiftly and decisively."

They also said the pizza shop perp will avoid fines or charges, but plan to continue investigating the employees' contacts, according to CNN.

"This has had a massive impact on our community," Stevens said. "People's lives have been upended as a result of information that led us to a course of action that now was not warranted in the circumstances. We're now taking action to amend that."

Australia has gained a reputation for particularly narrow lockdown restrictions, under which even pet owners are banned from walking their dogs.

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