Burt declines to discuss late disclosure of positive coronavirus test
The Premier yesterday refused to comment on whether it was irresponsible of him not to ensure everybody who attended a PLP event at the weekend was informed after he tested positive for the coronavirus that night.
It took the Government more than 24 hours to make David Burt’s condition public after the Progressive Labour Party Founders’ Day event on Sunday, which attracted about 130 people – many of them elderly.
Mr Burt insisted that anyone he was in contact with over the past few days was “certainly” informed.
But that was not correct because Mr Burt had a face to face encounter with a journalist from The Royal Gazette at the PLP event who had not been told of his possible exposure. The reporter then went inside the venue for the lengthy event.
The reporter was not told Mr Burt had tested positive and went to the office as usual on Monday.
No public announcement was made until just before midnight on Monday – more than a day later – despite antigen test confirmation that Mr Burt was positive for the coronavirus on Sunday night.
Mr Burt cancelled a Budget press conference at short notice on Monday and the government communications department was asked if the Premier had contracted the coronavirus.
Mr Burt refused to say if it was irresponsible of him not to ensure everyone at the event knew immediately about his condition, as the journalist could have become infected and passed it on to work colleagues.
Mr Burt said: “I am not going to speak as to whether it was responsible or not.”
He added that he had been “speaking outside the event” to the journalist and that it had been “an oversight on my behalf”.
Mr Burt said before it was pointed out to him that not all attendees at the PLP event had been informed of his infection: “As per the health regulations I informed my close contacts immediately because that is the way in which we go about it.
“And then the party was contacting other persons who were not considered close contacts, and casual contacts in the way in which these matters are handled.
“Anyone I had been in touch with over the past few days was certainly informed.”
The Government has failed to respond to several questions asked by The Royal Gazette.
This story has been amended to state that the reporter was indoors at the PLP Founder’s Day event.
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