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South Australian government 'sought to manage' risk at the time of outbreak

Sky News Australia logo Sky News Australia 21/11/2020 Sky News Australia

Minister for Finance, Tourism and Trade Simon Birmingham has defended the South Australian government’s controversial lockdown, saying a “few days of intensive restrictions” are better than a Victorian-style few months.

Simon Birmingham wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera © Provided by Sky News Australia

“They sought to manage what they saw the risk being at the time and to act in ways avoided any possibility of South Australia facing a Victorian-style three month or so lockdown,” Mr Birmingham told Sky News.

“Their view was acting hard and swift for a few days was going to be far better than facing 112 days.”

Premier Steven Marshall announced the state would go into a “six day freeze” to slow the spread of the virus, which included some of the strictest measures in the world.

“I can understand the rationale particularly given they went from one case to 16 cases to 23 cases,” Mr Birmingham said.

“I think what they saw was the contact tracing was going to reach a point of viability pressures.”

The strict lockdowns were however redacted three days ahead of schedule after it emerged a pizza store worker misled contact tracing teams, leaving concerns the South Australian public will not be so compliant about lockdowns in future.

Police in South Australia have launched a 20-strong taskforce to investigate why the pizza worker deliberately misled contact tracers along with anyone who might have covered for him.

“I wish that the short but brief lockdown had never occurred, and I wish even more this guy had told the truth," Mr Birmingham said.

“But I do understand that a few days of intensive restrictions are certainly a damn sight better than a few months.”

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