South Australia Premier Steven Marshall prompted concern by coughing on air during a live interview Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after announcing a stringent six-day lockdown for the state in a bid to contain a concerning coronavirus cluster.
Appearing on ABC News Breakfast, Mr Marshall’s voice appeared hoarse before he coughed into his elbow and took a brief pause to compose himself.
When wrapping up the interview host Lisa Miller urged Mr Marshall to look after himself.
“That cough will no doubt worry some of our audience!” she said to a blank-faced premier who only responded to her concern by thanking her.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted the premier’s office on whether Mr Marshall will take a COVID-19 test following the incident.
The moment did not go unnoticed on social media.
— Gabriella Marchant (@gabby_marchant) November 18, 2020
By Wednesday there were 22 known locally acquired cases linked to the outbreak.
In March, Mr Marshall laughed off suggestion he had coronavirus while coughing in a similar fashion live on FiveAA.
On Wednesday, his NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian fronted media despite losing her voice.
She confirmed she had taken a coronavirus test which had returned negative.
And in May, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg prompted concerns when he had a coughing fit in parliament before taking a test which was later negative.
Masks likely to be mandatory in ‘next couple of days’
Mr Marshall was speaking as South Australians woke to the new restrictions, insisting the health advice was “very clear” for the lockdown.
“[We’ve put] this circuit breaker in place so that we could get on top of the contact tracing and get every single person that we can into that quarantine situation as quickly as possible, so that we can ease those restrictions on the rest of our state,” he said.
Mr Marshall also warned masks were likely to be made mandatory and that South Australians would be given a few days to prepare for the move.
“We have to have, if you like, some flexibility in the next couple of days, because people aren't used to this type of direction,” he said.
During Wednesday’s announcement he said masks should be worn when out of the home but it would not be enforced.
‘One shot’ to stop second wave
He said the state was going early and hard to ensure the state wasn’t subjected to months of restrictions.
“We've got one shot, one shot. You don't get a second chance to stop a second wave,” he said.
“And so we're throwing absolutely everything at this, because we want South Australia to have a Christmas.”
He labelled the strain of the virus “particularly sneaky”, while Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the strain has a “very, very short incubation period”.
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