South Australian Premier Steven Marshall is confident the state will have a normal Christmas, after embarking on a six-day hard lockdown to contain a COVID-19 cluster.

Mr Marshall says the pause in most community activity will significantly reduce the risk of the virus spreading further.

It could also prevent the need for a much longer Victorian-style shutdown.

“It’s quite different from other lockdowns around the world and other parts of our country, often they’ve been dealing with multiple clusters that have got away and widespread community transmission,” Mr Marshall told Nine Network on Thursday.

“We don’t want that in South Australia. We have taken this proactive decision to have this circuit breaker, to have this pause on mobility so that we can stay ahead of this particular cluster.”

He said he was “very confident” the state would have a COVID-normal Christmas.

“This is the very best chance we’ve got. By working together over the six days,” Mr Marshall said.

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From Thursday all schools are closed along with universities, pubs, cafes, retail stores, food courts and takeaway food outlets.

Regional travel is banned and aged care centres are in lockdown.

Factories are closed, along with the construction industry, and elective surgery has ceased.

Weddings and funerals are banned along with all outdoor sport and exercise and masks will be required outside the home.

People who are not essential workers will only be allowed to leave their homes once each day to buy groceries or to seek a COVID-19 test or other medical treatment.

Supermarkets, petrol stations, medical centres, critical infrastructure, public transport, airport and freight services, banks, post offices, school and childcare for essential workers and veterinary services are open.

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The business sector has backed the lockdown but said it could be devastating for the state economy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described it as a “pre-emptive and temporary” strategy to keep South Australians safe.

“These are precautionary and temporary measures with a clear end date,” he said.

All being well, the lockdown will be replaced by eight further days of heavy but less stringent restrictions.

The measures are the government’s response to the so-called Parafield cluster which increased to 23 confirmed cases on Wednesday.

Mr Marshall said SA was battling a “nasty” strain of coronavirus, which is highly infectious, very likely to be transmitted from surfaces and has an incubation period of just 24 hours.

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“For all of those reasons we didn’t want this to get away from us in South Australia. We have put this pause in place,” he said.

A number of sites across Adelaide are of key concern, particularly a pizza bar, where a worker tested positive, two northern suburbs schools, a hospital and a swimming centre.

People who visited those sites have been asked to quarantine and get tested.

Almost 40 other locations are listed as places that confirmed cases have visited in recent days, with people there at the same time asked to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they feel ill.

AAP