‘This is not a time to panic.’

A chemist has been caught in the new South Australian COVID-19 cluster, as pharmacists are advised to help patients protect themselves

The Star Discount Chemist, Hollywood Plaza Surgery at Salisbury Downs has been added to South Australia’s new watchlist for COVID-19 – twice.

The pharmacy was initially listed as having been visited by a person with the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, 10 November, from 7.30pm to 7.45pm.

A later update noted that a person with the disease had also visited the pharmacy on Saturday, 14 November, between 10am and 11am.

As at Tuesday morning, the total number of cases linked to the Parafield cluster in northern Adelaide had reached 20. Most of these cases are in members of one family, or their close contacts.

As a result of the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state, the Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia have closed their borders to people from South Australia.

According to InDaily, a number of measures have been taken including the delay of the launch of the Adelaide Festival 2021 program, and the cancellation of opera performances.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia SA Branch president Robyn Johns said that, “This is not a time to panic and our advice for South Australian pharmacists and the general public remains the same as it has throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic”.

“PSA continues to urge those with symptoms not to enter a pharmacy and to go to one of the testing stations before self-isolating at home while awaiting results,” she said.

Those who are experiencing symptoms are asked to phone their pharmacy before they come in.

 “It is also important to remain vigilant in hand hygiene as well as social distancing and if staff are unwell ask them to stay home and get tested,” she advised.

“We also recommend pharmacists revisit pandemic planning procedures and to monitor and manage potential stockpiling behaviours.

 “Public health officials are monitoring the situation closely and will enact isolation and containment measures as and when appropriate.

“For worried staff and patients reassure them the best way to protect themselves is to follow good hand hygiene, physical distancing protocol and to wear a mask in public.”

AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid appeared on Sunrise and told Monique Wright that doctors were concerned about the concept of “opening up” before Christmas.

“What we’re concerned about… is not so much the opening of the borders for Christmas, but actually the opening of our society for Christmas and this idea that things are going to be back to normal, that families can get together in big groups, and we can forget the lessons that we’ve learned through this terrible year that we’ve had,” Dr Khorshid said.

“It’s really important, we think, that the message to the community is actually this virus is an ongoing risk. And we’ve just seen demonstrated very clearly in South Australia that we’re only ever one quarantine breach away from it getting back into our society.”

He warned that Australians would need to continue measures such as social distancing for “many, many months to come, even once vaccines are starting to become available”.

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