Peter Dutton has tested positive to the novel coronavirus.
The Liberal cabinet member and Minister for Home Affairs revealed he has tested positive in a statement Friday afternoon.
“This morning I woke up with a temperature and a sore throat,” he said.
“I immediately contacted the Queensland Department of Health and was subsequently tested for COVID-19.
“I was advised by Queensland Health this afternoon that the test returned positive.”
The liberal frontbencher said Friday afternoon that he feels fine but has complied with the policy of Queensland Health that anyone who tests positive be admitted to hospital.
It comes just hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would still go to the football this weekend despite advising that all non-essential gatherings of 500 people should be cancelled from Monday.
It is unclear when Mr Dutton was last in contact with the prime minister but there was a cabinet meeting held for four hours on Tuesday, Nine News reported. Mr Dutton reportedly then flew to Brisbane on a commercial flight later that day.
Parliament is also due to sit on Monday March 23 as the government seeks to pass its economic stimulus package.
Now that Dutton has Coronavirus, PM Scott Morrison will probably need to self-isolate as he was with Dutton this week. Perhaps the entire Cabinet will. How will Parliament sit in a week’s time to pass the stimulus package?? These are unprecedented times.— Sharri Markson (@SharriMarkson) March 13, 2020
Mr Dutton is also the Minister for Emergency Management and it is unclear if anyone will take over his responsibilities while he is in hospital.
In his statement this afternoon, Mr Dutton said he would provide an update in due course.
As of Friday afternoon, Queensland’s confirmed coronavirus toll sits at 35 with eight new cases found today.
There are more than 190 cases across Australia with NSW the hardest hit state with 92 confirmed cases so far, while Victoria has 36 confirmed cases.
South Australia has 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Western Australia had 14 cases as of Friday morning and Tasmania had four.
The Prime Minister’s office released a statement Friday evening saying that members of the cabinet have been given advice they do not need to self isolate because they were not in close proximity with Mr Dutton in the 24 hours prior to him showing symptoms.
The news of Mr Dutton’s positive test comes after former senator Derryn Hinch tweeted on Thursday night that he was hearing an Australian federal minister had tested positive and had cancelled meetings.
Whoops. I’m hearing a federal minister has tested positive. Cancelled meetings tomorrow.— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) March 12, 2020
Given Mr Dutton’s statement that he only contacted Queensland Health this morning, it appears unlikely Mr Hinch was referring to the Home Affairs Minister.
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