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Covid-19 Australia: Gladys Berejiklian is seen near virus-infected Adam Marshall

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An image has emerged showing Gladys Berejiklian standing outside a dinner where she dined with a Covid-infected MP, raising questions about whether the premier should isolate for the full 14 days.

The New South Wales premier dined with fellow politicians at Parliament House in Sydney on Tuesday evening, which was hosted by the NSW National Party to celebrate the state budget.

Among the guests was Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall who, unbeknownst to him, was infected with Covid and ran the risk of spreading the respiratory virus strain to the state’s political top dogs.

Ms Berejiklian confirmed on Thursday that she did not speak with Mr Marshall at the event and has since tested negative for Covid, and explained that she did not need to isolate for longer because she was considered a ‘casual’ contact.

Casual contacts must get tested and isolate, but are allowed to go outside when a negative result is received.

But hundreds of Sydneysiders in the latest outbreak have been deemed ‘close’ contacts, meaning they have to isolate for 14 days regardless of the test results.  

Pictured: Gladys Berejiklian with a man at an event at NSW Parliament on Tuesday. In the background is Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, who was infected with Covid

Pictured: Gladys Berejiklian with a man at an event at NSW Parliament on Tuesday. In the background is Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, who was infected with Covid

Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) stressed that she did not speak to Mr Marshall and tested negative to the virus on Thursday

Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) stressed that she did not speak to Mr Marshall and tested negative to the virus on Thursday

The suited man standing next to the premier in the photo is not Mr Marshall, but the Agriculture Minister could be seen sitting at a nearby table in the reflection of a window in the background. 

Ms Berejiklian said she was deemed a casual contact and tested negative to the virus before she fronted the media a couple of hours later.

‘Health has made their assessments and deemed that I am a casual contact.

‘I was tested very early this morning and isolated and returned a negative test a couple of hours ago and I will continue to follow health advice,’ she told reporters.

‘Since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that NSW is going through.

‘It is a very contagious variant but at the same time we are at this stage comfortable that the settings that are in place are the appropriate settings, but that is so long as everybody does the right thing.’

Pictured: Christo's Pizzaria in Paddington, where Mr Marshall dined before testing positive to Covid

Pictured: Christo’s Pizzaria in Paddington, where Mr Marshall dined before testing positive to Covid

Covid cases are on the rise in Sydney with 11 new cases on Thursday (pictured, a couple in mandatory masks in Manly)

Covid cases are on the rise in Sydney with 11 new cases on Thursday (pictured, a couple in mandatory masks in Manly)

Social media users were quick to compare Ms Berejiklian’s potential exposure to the virus and shoppers across two levels in Myer at Westfield Bondi Junction who were ordered to quarantine for two weeks, regardless of whether they test negative.

‘Talk about double standards, the people involved in the Myer exposure site who have to isolate for two weeks, even with a negative result or fully vaccinated should be absolutely furious,’ wrote one woman. 

Another wrote: ‘The premier made the point the other day of how quick the virus spreads. So even if she wasn’t anywhere near the minister there is a good chance someone else was, that she would have come into contact with.’

But others jumped to her defence, claiming the situation between the Westfield shoppers and Ms Berejiklian’s potential exposure are different scenerios. 

‘Perhaps because it is not possible to be as precise about the movements of all of those in Myers?’ one man wrote. ‘I have great faith in Gladys and her team.’

NSW Chief Health officer explained there are multiple factors that come in to play when deciding how to categorise different exposure sites.

Light rail cleaners are seen wiping down a tram in the Sydney CBD on Thursday. Fears are growing the virus may be spreading through multiple 'super-spreader' events after 11 cases were linked to a birthday party attended by 30 people in West Hoxton in Sydney's west

Light rail cleaners are seen wiping down a tram in the Sydney CBD on Thursday. Fears are growing the virus may be spreading through multiple ‘super-spreader’ events after 11 cases were linked to a birthday party attended by 30 people in West Hoxton in Sydney’s west

‘What we do is assess each venue, so not every venue is the same, with the size of the venue, you have to pass on the venue – if it is a venue the size of a massive area, that is very different than a single room,’ she explained.

‘[It] is the duration you are there, there are multiple factors as well as the infectivity that is assessed of the individual that is there at the time.’ 

On Thursday, Mr Marshall told reporters: ‘This morning just after 8am I was formally advised by NSW Health that I had returned a positive test for Covid-19.’

‘I’m doing fine and will continue to strictly follow the advice of health authorities.’

Mr Marshall caught the virus after dining with three of his Nationals colleagues at Christo’s Pizzaria in Paddington, in the city’s eastern suburbs, before it was declared an exposure site on Monday.

His colleagues Trevor Khan, Steph Cooke and Ben Franklin are understood to have tested negative. 

Mr Marshall has been isolating at his Sydney flat since Tuesday night and won’t be able to return to his Armidale home for at least 14 days. His ministerial staff are also in isolation. 

New South Wales has recorded 11 new local cases of Covid-19 overnight. Commuters. Pictured: wearing face masks on a train platform at Central Station on Wednesday

New South Wales has recorded 11 new local cases of Covid-19 overnight. Commuters. Pictured: wearing face masks on a train platform at Central Station on Wednesday

NSW Parliament was added to the state’s list of exposure sites on Thursday, with health authorities urging anyone who there on Tuesday at any time to monitor for symptoms and to get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.

Similarly, Stranger’s Dining Room at Parliament House was also added to the list, with anyone there between 6pm and 9pm on Tuesday to get tested and self-isolate until they receive further  

Three other venues were also added to the list, including two stores in Darlinghurst – Frankie’s Beans and Vinfafe Cafe.

Patrons have been told to contact NSW Health, get a test and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result. 

Anyone who was at TerryWhite Chemmart in Rouse Hill Town Centre has also been told to isolate for 14 days until a negative test is received.

The 11 additional cases in NSW on Thursday includes six recorded overnight since 8pm and five unreported infections from Wednesday’s figures.

All but one of the new infections is linked to a previous case.

The positive community cases came from 48,402 tests, up from the 44,640 carried out the day before. 

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Written by bourbiza

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