November 26, 2021

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South Australia’s Chief Health Officer Tells Footy Fans to ‘Duck’ Instead of Touching the Ball, Because COVID

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South Australia's Chief Health Officer Tells Footy Fans to 'Duck' Instead of Touching the Ball, Because COVID

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has criticised South Australia’s chief health officer who bizarrely asked Australian Football fans to ‘duck’ instead of touching the ball if it flies into the crowd…because COVID.

Don’t worry not all Aussie’s are this stupid.

South Australia’s chief health officer Nicola Spurrier gave the extraordinary advice on Wednesday after she let the Collingwood team enter her state from virus-stricken Melbourne to play the Crows in front of up to 53,000 fans on Saturday.

In comments that sparked ridicule from fans, she said: ‘Not that I’ve been to many football games, but I have noticed occasionally it does get kicked into the crowd. If the ball comes towards you, my advice is to duck and do not touch that ball.’

Speaking to Sky News on Thursday, Carlton fan Mr Frydenberg said the advice was simply not practical.

‘In states outside Victoria people can enjoy the football and they should. They should obviously be practical when it comes to the health advice and that means our health advisors should also be practical in the advice that they give,’ he said.

With a smile on his face, the treasurer added: ‘I did note the chief health advisor said she had not been to many games of football.

‘As you know when the ball comes towards you its not your choice as to whether you can touch it or not. It comes at a rapid pace.’    

Professor Tony Blakely, a public health expert at the University of Melbourne, said fans should not worry about catching the disease from touching the ball. 

Asked what the chance of infection is, he told Sunrise: ‘I would have thought quite minimal.’

‘But I guess if you’re trying to create a bubble around a game, it’s like a sort of virus that goes outside the bubble and comes back in.

‘It’s minimal but I do think it’s smart to encourage those people who get hit by the ball to get tested. I think the risk is pretty minimal, amusing though,’ he added.    

On Wednesday night Sky News host Paul Murray described Professor Spurier as ‘the nuttiest professor running around in the COVID game’.

‘Who could think in 2021 there could be any problem whatsoever with catching a footy kicked into the crowd?’ he said. 

The overly cautious advice has left Australians wondering if the country will see normal life with the borders fully open ever again. 

Fans pointed out the ball could only become contaminated if touched by infected players.

Yet Professor Spurier had no issue with allowing the players to enter her state to play.

Her advice bewildered many, who expressed their confusion on social media and on television talk shows.

Former South Australian senator Cory Bernardi described the comments as ‘extraordinary’.

‘She will feature prominently in stupidity’s greatest hits,’ he said on Sky News.

‘They are a bunch of turkeys running the show.’ 

On Twitter one user wrote: ‘If there is such a risk from these players entering our state the game shouldn’t go ahead or does with no crowd.’

‘When did Nicola Spurrier start working for The Betoota Advocate?’ another tweeted.

However former SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis was angered by the ridicule she was receiving over the comment.

‘After all Spurrier has done for SA you now pile on. Stay classy,’ he tweeted. 

SA’s border is closed to Victorian travellers but the Pies were granted an exemption for their clash with the Crows on Saturday.

Prof Spurrier gave the go-ahead on the grounds it is a ‘special situation’.

Under the strict protocols, a ‘pared back’ contingent of 35 Collingwood players, coaches, and officials will be permitted to cross the border but will not be able to interact with anyone outside their bubble apart from opposition players.

‘The requirement on Collingwood is now to go into quarantine in Victoria – if they are with their family, their family needs to quarantine too,’ Prof Spurrier said.

‘Individually each player must sign a declaration they have not been at any of (the Victorian) exposure sites and… sign one once they are in SA too.’

‘They have to be tested within 24 hours of coming to SA, and will be swabbed at the airport and not be able to play until we have all their results in and they’re negative.’

All players and staff, including the Crows, will then be tested again 48 hours later and will have to isolate until ‘every test is back and they are all negative’.

‘This group of players have very tough conditions on them – they will be here, they will play the match, they will be leaving,’ Prof Spurrier said.   

‘We could not get the team here to quarantine, this is the other way of doing it.’ 

The match is set to begin at 4:35pm on Saturday, with a capacity crowd of about 40,000 fans expected to be cheering on the Crows. 

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