A country Liberal MP has lashed out at the South Australian Government over its handling of the latest coronavirus outbreak, saying the hard lockdown was an overreaction which “hung businesses out to dry”.
Key points:Nick McBride lashed out at the decision to impose drastic lockdownsHe said there should have been more consideration of the economic impactsAuthorities including the Premier and SA Health have defended the move as crucial
Backbencher Nick McBride, whose electoral district MacKillop includes parts of SA’s south-east, said health authorities should not have “taken the word of one person” to impose a lockdown on the entire state.
The six-day stay-at-home order was lifted after only three days, when it was revealed a man who tested positive had misled contact tracers about his connections to the Woodville Pizza Bar.
Mr McBride argued authorities should have more carefully considered the worker’s information before ordering the lockdown.
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“They’ve overreacted to one person [and] they did not do a thorough investigation … to get clarity about what’s gone on there,” he said.
“To lock down the state and to put the state into more pain — it is just a total negative.
“It just beggars belief.”
Nick McBride said small businesses had been ‘hung out to dry’.(Supplied: Nick McBride)
South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, has repeatedly said she has “no regrets” about her lockdown advice.
She said she would make the same decision again based on the same information, and that the “pause” had allowed contact tracers to get on top of the Parafield cluster.
But Mr McBride said he believed the balance between public health and the economy had been lost.
“All these people making these decisions and locking down our state do not suffer one day of lost wages, no loss of income,” he said.
“They have no relationship with the small business sector, which they have left hung out to dry again in this tough lockdown that’s turned out to be a mistake.
“[Businesses] are absolutely broken and bruised by this whole process.
“My request … is to bring some relevance to this Transition Committee that represents the business sector of South Australia.”
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It is not the first time Mr McBride — who also called for a full inquiry into the hotel quarantine system — has spoken out about the Government’s management of coronavirus restrictions.
Earlier this year, he and several other state and federal MPs signed a letter urging more collaboration around cross-border travel restrictions impacting the state’s south-east communities.
There have been seven positive coronavirus cases in the state’s south-east since the start of the pandemic, according to SA Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, out of more than 500 statewide.
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Premier Steven Marshall has hit back at the comments, defending the lockdown as the right move to keep the state safe.
“I’m quite aware of people that have different opinions, but I’m just going to say, listen to the expert health advice,” he said.
“It’s kept South Australia safe and our economy strong.”
Professor Nicola Spurrier says South Australians should still take strong precautions against coronavirus.(ABC News)
In an earlier interview with ABC Radio Adelaide, Mr Marshall said: “You don’t really get a second chance to a second wave. That’s the most important thing.”
Over the weekend, Professor Spurrier released modelling which she said demonstrated the state was at risk of 100 new COVID-19 cases per day, and long-term major restrictions, if drastic action had not been taken.
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