An Australian teen accused of partying after testing positive for COVID-19 has been charged with ignoring health orders, local police said Tuesday. He now faces a maximum penalty of a $20,000 fine or two years in prison.
Police said the 19-year-old from Kensington Park went to a nightclub and did not quarantine despite being informed by South Australia’s public health system that he tested positive for COVID-19.
The teen was charged for failing to comply with directions under South Australia’s Emergency Management Act. The 2004 law is activated during major emergencies. He is out on bail and will reappear in court in February, authorities said.
South Australia Premier Steven Marshall reportedly called the allegations “very serious.”
“If they’re correct, I think this serves as a lesson to every single South Australian that they’ve got to abide by these restrictions, otherwise there are very heavy penalties,” he said.
In a statement to local media, the Loverboy nightclub said the teen put “150 patrons, staff and their families in harm’s way.”
“Someone knowingly entering somewhere with a positive result should be considered an (offense) and we will be seeking justice,” the club said.
South Australia’s health system placed the nightclub on its COVID-19 exposure sites and shared guidance for patrons and staff who were there from 10:45 p.m. on December 16 to 4:15 a.m. on December 17. Under its rules, vaccinated people who were at the club were told to quarantine for seven days, while those who were unvaccinated will have to quarantine for 14 days.
CBS News reached out to the club but did not immediately hear back.
South Australia and the rest of the country have implemented tighter COVID-19-related restrictions due to rising cases and the surge of Omicron.