NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has denied she broke her own coronavirus protocols after failing to self-isolate following a Covid test early last week.
The premier has faced mounting pressure over the issue and sought to clear things up on ABC Breakfast on Tuesday morning.
When asked by host Lisa Millar if she did the wrong thing, Ms Berejiklian admitted she should have avoided contact with others while waiting for the test result, but said she was confident she did not have the virus.
“I knew that I was starting to lose my voice. I didn't have any symptoms – no scratchy throat, no other symptoms listed on the NSW Health website.”
“But in an abundance of caution, I had the test done that afternoon and was told that I'd have a result within 90 minutes to two hours. I didn't change my schedule. Perhaps I should have,” she said.
The premier said “an ordinary person” would not have needed the test.
“I knew when my voice was going people would ask me if I was OK and I wanted to be able to say that I'd had the test,” she said.
“And perhaps in hindsight, I should have closed my door and not seen anybody for the 90 minutes to two hours, but I didn’t,” she said.
NSW premier not going to change isolation guidelines
Given the NSW Health directive is for people to self-isolate until the test results come back, Millar asked if the premier was going to now change the guidelines.
“But the question is, are you going to change the guidelines?”
“Absolutely not. Why would I change the guidelines?” Ms Berejiklian responded.
“Because you're not following them,” the ABC host alleged.
“Well, no, I'm sorry, but I would never do that. I would never, ever do that. My mission has been from day one – putting the people of this state first... I didn't have any symptom, I didn't have a sore, scratchy throat. I didn't have a runny nose,” Ms Berejiklian reiterated.
The pointed interview comes after mounting pressure on the premier, with opposition leaders suggesting she had broken the health department guidelines.
She admitted colleagues and staff go in and out of her office frequently when parliament sits. Ms Berejiklian was present at the treasurer's budget speech at noon last Tuesday after she took the test and for Question Time in state parliament from 2.15pm.
“But you took a test and didn't self-isolate, and the guidelines say, if you take a test, you have to isolate,” Millar pressed.
“True. I accept that,” the NSW leader conceded.
“So you didn't follow your own guidelines. You do accept that you didn't follow your own guidelines?” Millar said.
“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 and in hindsight, I should have done that,” the premier said.
NSW Premier on not isolating after taking a COVID-19 test:@LisaMillar: You do accept that you didn't follow your own guidelines?@GladysB: 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. pic.twitter.com/WuBJvAwG3p
— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) November 23, 2020
Like other state leaders, Ms Berejiklian has warned against complacency in the fight against coronavirus.
She rejected the idea she failed to set the right example, saying she still hasn’t hugged her parents since February.
Opposition health spokesman Ryan Park earlier said it was clear last week the premier “had a scratchy throat, which we all know is a symptom of COVID-19”.
“Everyone has to do their bit during COVID, regardless of who you are,” he tweeted on Monday.
NSW has 13 active coronavirus cases.
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