Politics

Gladys Berejiklian Admits She Didn’t Follow Her Own Advice And Self-Isolate After COVID-19 Test

She argues that she was tested only out of 'overcaution', but "appreciates what it looks like".

NSW Premier Gladys Berejikian admits she didn't self-isolate after COVID-19 test

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has admitted on ABC Breakfast that she did not self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test last week, in direct contradiction to what state and national health authorities advise.

Berejiklian confirmed rumours reported by The Australian that she continued to work as normal last Tuesday, after taking a rapid COVID-19 test. As per NSW Health guidelines, you must isolate while awaiting the results of a test, which can take up to 72 hours — and as the Premier took a rapid test, she had to only wait approximately 90 minutes.

In her tense interview with Breakfast co-host Lisa Millar, Berejiklian is reluctant to say she did the wrong thing, instead insisting that she did not truly need the test, as she had no COVID-19 symptoms.

“I didn’t have any symptoms, no scratchy throat, no(ne) of the symptoms listed on the NSW Health website,” she said, “but in an abundance of caution I had the test done that afternoon and was told I’d have a result within 90 minutes to two hours.”

“I didn’t change my schedule, perhaps I should have. But the facts were an ordinary person probably wouldn’t have needed the test at all…”

Berejiklian says she was only tested as she knew she would be asked by the press about her wavering voice — while voice loss isn’t a symptom of COVID-19, she believed it was best to get tested in order to shut down that hypothetical future line of questioning.

“Perhaps in hindsight I should have closed my door and not seen anybody for that 90 minutes to two hours,” she adds, “but I didn’t…I accept that in hindsight I should have kept my door shut.”

Millar then asks that given that Berejiklian didn’t follow NSW Health’s own guidelines, would she be changing them to keep them up to date with her own actions?

“Absolutely not, why would I change that!,” she says. “I would never do that.”

Berejiklian then says that complacency is the biggest COVID-19 risk, spinning this to prove that her ‘overcaution’ by getting a test despite not having any symptoms and then not isolating is actually an example of sorts, even if it went against guidelines.

“It’s only because I am so vigorous against fighting against complacency that I took the test because I didn’t have a symptom… I knew my voice would be going and I wanted to say with confidence to people that I’ve had taken the precaution.”

“I was overtly careful but I appreciate what it looks like and I appreciate how I’m judged and I appreciate I should have closed my door for those 90 minutes to 2 hours, and not been with anyone.”

In a Tweet, NSW Labor leader Jodie McKay criticised Berejiklian’s actions, calling them an “extraordinary lack of judgement”.

The news also comes a day after Victorian premier Dan Andrews announced state-paid sick leave for casual workers, who even while ill may be under pressure to work insecure jobs.

Last month, Berejiklian faced an ICAC investigation, revealing that she had a secret relationship with disgraced and corrupt former MP Daryl Maguire.

Watch the interview below.