Poppy Morandin and Jimmy Singh.
New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian has admitted to failing to self-isolate following a COVID-19 test, allegedly ignoring NSW Health rules.
Ms Berejiklian had the test done last week, yet reportedly attended a vote on the floor of parliament before she had received the negative result.
Footage shows her in the chamber, only a short time after the swab was done, and bumping elbows with fellow ministers.
She has stated the reason for taking the test was that she had a hoarse voice and was not displaying any other symptoms.
“I took the test not because I thought I had any symptoms, but because I was losing my voice and I wanted to make sure I was overly cautious,” she stated.
Ms Berejiklian appeared on the Today Show and admitted that she should have “closed my door” and “not had anything to do with anybody” until the result was known.
She even stated that she could not remember “exactly what I did,” during the period in which she was meant to be self-isolating.
“Please know that every time anyone comes into contact with me, social distancing, hand sanitisation, all those things were always the case, but I didn’t change my schedule in that 90 minutes or two hours.” she explained.
When asked if she would change the guidelines, due to not adhering to them herself, Ms Berejiklian stated: “absolutely not…why would I change the guidelines because of something I didn’t do myself.”
The controversy comes after The Australian reported that she had defied NSW Health Rules.
Journalist, Yoni Bashan, commented: “Her office attempted to kill the article multiple times and threatened to shame us for publishing.”
The revelations have caused a raft of backlash, especially online as #FineGladys trended on Twitter.
“I would expect equal treatment for whole NSW population so I believe the NSW police should #FineGladys. I also think that Gladys should #FineGladys because she said that she was a stickler for the rules.” commented one user.
“Rules aren’t worth anything unless they are applied equally to everyone.” contended another.
The NSW Government guidelines currently state that you must self-isolate if you have:
- been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results,
- been diagnosed with COVID-19,
- are suspected of having COVID-19,
- had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and
- have returned from overseas and are exempt from hotel quarantine.
Multiple sources have confirmed that after being tested that they were told and given written instructions to isolate.
When asked whether she had not abided by the rules, Ms Berejiklian stated that it was “down to interpretation”.
On the Government’s own website, individuals are directed to report any person failing to follow these rules to Crime Stoppers.
NSW Police may issue a penalty notice of $1,000 to someone who is not complying with the Public Health Orders.
If those fines are court-elected, some of these breaches attract up to $11,000 fine or 6-months jail, or both, under section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW).
Whilst the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 4) 2020, made under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW), specifically directs that persons diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate and that close contacts of persons diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate, it becomes unclear when tests are purely precautionary.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has stated that “asymptomatic testing doesn’t require isolation.”
However, health experts such as Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious disease specialist at ANU medical school, have contended that: “Irrespective of how likely it is that you have COVID if you have been deemed suitable to have a COVID test that means there is a possibility you have COVID and could transmit it to others.”