'Insane': Confusion over Gladys Berejiklian's 'mixed message'

·3-min read

People have expressed their confusion on social media after Saturday's Covid press conference gave off "mixed messages".

NSW announced 50 new Covid cases and once again, there was a plea to the public for them to be honest about their whereabouts with contact tracers followed by a wrap up of fines the police dished out.

"I'm very concerned that to 8pm last night we still had 26 cases of people who were infectious in the community," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. 

Gladys Berejiklian pictured with Dr Kerry Chant in the background.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged people to be honest with contact tracers. Source: AAP

"One message I really want to get across to people who have been diagnosed with Covid, please tell us the truth the first time around.

"When people withhold information, it means that their contacts are infectious – potentially infectious in the community. Eventually our health contact tracers get to the truth."

She also said: "Please tell us the truth at the beginning, you won't get in trouble."

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry chant echoed Ms Berejiklian's comments and said it was "critical" people told the truth before giving the floor to NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys who went through the fines police handed out.

On Friday, 167 infringement were handed out by officers for people breaching public health orders.

"Police will ask questions, they will find out the truth, and if you need to be issued an infringement notice, they will," Dept Comm Worboys said on Saturday.

"We really want people to take responsibility for their own actions. We want people to realise that the decisions they make will affect what happens over the next days."

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys speaking during a Covid press conference.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said more than 160 people were issued infringements for breaches to the public health order. Source: AAP

All information given to contact tracers is kept private and last weekend Dr Chant reassured people this was the case.

"Any information that is given to public health will not be shared," she said. 

"It is important that when people are speaking to contact tracers, that they feel reassured about the fact that we will hold information in a confidential way."

The irony of having the Chief Health Officer plead with people to be honest with contact tracers and then have police talk about the fines didn't go unnoticed.

Dr Kerry Chant, the NSW Chief Health Officer, speaks to media.
NSW reported 50 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday. Source: AAP

'Mixed messaging' of Covid press conference called out

Some people noted the limousine driver at the centre of the his outbreak was referred to the police for investigation.

Eventually NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller confirmed the driver would not be charged.

"Gladys sends in the cops then wants people to trust the government," one person said on Twitter.

"Gladys is urging people to be honest with contact tracers," refugee activist Shane Bazzi tweeted. 

"People would be more likely to do this without the scolding/blaming individuals and targeting certain communities. Govt, cops and media have all done this."

"The mixed messaging is not helpful," ABC reporter Jess Davis tweeted.

Change.org executive director Sally Rugg wrote: "Insane watching Dr Chant say 'all humans make bad decisions sometimes' desperately urging ppl in NSW to tell contact tracers the truth 'the first time!', only to be followed by Police Comm to list all the fines cops handed out to people breaking rules."

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