Outrage brews online over premier's failure to isolate after COVID-19 test

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Source: Getty

Fury brews online after the NSW Premier admits she didn’t self-isolate after taking a rapid COVID-19 test.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is facing backlash online after admitting that she failed to self-isolate after completing a COVID-19 test.

Appearing on ABC Breakfast this morning, the Premier confessed she did not follow the NSW Health guidelines.

“Yeah, I accept that in hindsight, I should have kept my doors shut for the 90 minutes or two hours while I was waiting for the result,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The NSW Health clearly states, “you must self-isolate if you have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results.”

However, Ms Berejiklian has argued that despite losing her voice, she didn’t “have any symptoms” such as a scratchy throat. 

“In an abundance of caution, I had the test done and was told I’d have a result in 90 minutes to two hours,” she said.

“I didn’t change my schedule but the fact is that an ordinary person probably wouldn’t have needed the test at all because I didn’t have any of the symptoms apart from being tired and losing my voice,” she added.

Ms Berejiklian told Nine’s Today Show that while she’s sure she was in “contact with people”, she’s always had “good social distancing.”

"Even if there wasn't a scheduled meeting, people come and go all the time," she said.

Her comments drew fury online. 

“Perhaps in hindsight I should have followed the public health advice that I expect everyone else in my state to follow,” one person tweeted.

“The clear message is #GladysBerejiklian doesn't have to live by the same rules as the rest of us,” another person added.

The Feed asked NSW Police if it would be investigating the matter. A spokesperson replied “COVID-19 guidelines are a matter for NSW Health” and NSW Police had “no further comment.”

The NSW Premier’s office did not respond to The Feed’s request for comment and instead, a spokesperson referred us to other interviews which Ms Berejiklian had given on Tuesday morning.

The admission comes after The Australian reported Ms Berejiklian attended meetings with colleagues while she was awaiting COVID-19 test results in parliament last Tuesday.

Following the Premier’s comments this morning, Yoni Bashan, a reporter at The Australian,  tweeted: “Her office attempted to kill the article multiple times and threatened to shame us for publishing.”

The Feed has been unable to verify Mr Bashan’s claim with Ms Berejiklian’s office.

On Q&A last night, NSW Jobs, Investment and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres defended Ms Berejiklian’s actions, claiming, “I don't think she's put anyone at risk here." 

He also came under fire after declaring those who take a "precautionary" COVID test do not need to self-isolate.

"If you haven't exhibited any symptoms and you go and get a test you don't have to isolate if you've not exhibited symptoms," he said on Q&A.

Host Hamish Macdonald told Mr Ayres his comments appeared to contradict the state health guidelines.

"You must self-isolate if you have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results. It could not be clearer," Macdonald said as he read directly from the guidelines.

Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, Richard Marles, said the rules should apply to everyone and pointed out he had quarantined before going to Canberra in September.

"I'm not exactly sure what we mean by a 'precautionary test', but these protocols matter," Mr Marles said on Q&A

"It's really important that the same rule that applies to everyone out there, applies to our leaders,” he added.

"I don't think anyone can live through what we have in Victoria and be under any illusion as to what's at stake here.”

The Feed has contacted NSW Health for comment.