New South Wales premier Gladys Berejikian wasn’t getting off lightly during a press round on Tuesday morning after it was revealed she took a COVID-19 test last Tuesday, but didn’t self-isolate till she received her negative result 90 minutes later.
During an interview with the ‘Today’ show, Berejiklian was grilled by host Karl Stefanovic, who asked her to admit she “broke the NSW rules” that require all residents who get tested to self-isolate until results come in.
“You’re in trouble again. What’s going on?” Stefanovic quizzed the premier.
Berejiklian said she was “not in trouble” and that she didn’t have any COVID-like symptoms but got tested as an “abundance of caution” on NSW Budget day when her “voice was starting to go”.
“I didn’t change my schedule. I accepted that, they came, they gave me the test and it came back negative and it’s just my larynx, literally my voice,” she said.
“So to be clear, did you attend any meetings or interact with anyone while you were waiting for the test results?” Stefanovic pressed on.
“As I said Karl, I didn’t change my schedule. I can’t tell you exactly what I did, I can’t remember,” the premier responded, saying she made sure to practice social distancing and hand sanitisation.
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But Stefanovic wasn’t going to let her off the hook.
“There’s nothing wrong with saying you had meetings,” he told her.
“Oh look, I very well could have. Even if there wasn’t a scheduled meeting, people come and go all the time,” she replied, adding it had been a long year.
“It has been a long year, but you did break your own rules. You did break NSW health rules,” said Stefanovic, before letting her speak and then insisting again, “But Premier, you broke the rules”.
“Look, that’s all down to interpretation. I took a test which I really didn’t need to but I wanted to and perhaps in that time frame I should’ve shut my door and not let anyone in,” she admitted.
Stefanovic then encouraged the premier to officially apologise, saying, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you saying, ‘Look the rules were there, I got on with it, I broke them, I’m very sorry, let’s get on with life’”.
Berejiklian said she had given “the facts” before confessing, “in hindsight I should’ve closed my door and not had anything to do with anybody but I didn’t because it all happened so fast and it was Budget day. I thought I was doing the right thing because I was being overly cautious.”
During an interview with ABC’s breakfast show, Berejiklian was also put on the spot by host Lisa Millar.
“But the question is, are you going to change the guidelines?” asked Millar, to which the premier replied, “Absolutely not. Why would I change the guidelines?”
“Because you’re not following them,” said the ABC presenter.
NSW has had no unlinked community transmission of COVID-19 for 31 days. Health authorities said on Tuesday that no local cases had been reported in the past 24 hours, and that six cases were reported in overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.
The border between NSW and Victoria opened on Monday after four months while Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared Tuesday she will finally open her border to Greater Sydney from Tuesday of next week.
Victoria said on Tuesday it had zero active cases of coronavirus for the first time in more than eight months. The state accounts for more than 73% of the country’s total virus cases and 90% of national deaths.
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