A lie and a pizza joint: Why Australian officials reversed a lockdown

After dozens of coronavirus cases emerged this week in the state of South Australia, the government quickly clamped down, issuing onerous stay-at-home orders. Masks were mandatory. Restaurants, cafes, pubs and retails stores were closed, along with schools.

But officials abruptly reversed course two days later, saying on Friday that the infected individual had “deliberately misled” a contact-tracing team in the city of Adelaide. It all came down to his relationship with a pizza shop.

It turned out that the person at the Woodville Pizza Bar wasn’t a customer, as he had told contact tracers, but a part-time employee and a close contact of another coronavirus patient who also worked at the restaurant. That mattered because health officials initially feared that the newly infected man had contracted the virus from only a brief exposure, which indicated a virulent strain.