NSW Chief Health Officer, Kerry Chant was an unsettling no-show at yesterday’s COVID press conference.
As new Premier Dominic Perrottet presented a much-altered “roadmap” out of the pandemic, with the emphasis now squarely on economic recovery, it was clear that the new parameters had not been cleared by the CHO.
Yesterday afternoon that was confirmed, with political reporter Chris O’Keefe tweeting that he had heard from multiple sources that Perrotet was forging ahead without expert health advice.
“I have confirmed with multiple sources who are aware of the discussions last night with Dr Chant, that she did not fully endorse this new roadmap,” he said.
“The Chief Health Officer warned the new premier all of these changes come with risk, but changing a roadmap that was only nine days old was ultimately a matter for the government.”
“Make no mistake, relaxing restrictions further is Dominic Perrottet putting his stamp on how we exit lockdown,” said O’Keefe.
“That is his prerogative, he is elected to make decisions after taking on advice from business, Kerry Chant, and the community.”
The premier was queried shortly after yesterday’s press conference about Dr Chant’s absence and whether she had approved the changes to the roadmap.
“I met yesterday for some time with Dr Chant and with (Health) Minister (Brad) Hazzard,” Perrottet replied.
While he claimed they had discussed “a range of issues” and the conversation was “constructive” and “productive” he failed to verify whether he was following health advice.
He was also asked whether it was disrespectful not to include Dr Chant in the press conference, to which he said: “Dr Chant is one of my favourite constituents in Epping. We always had a great relationship.”
A steadfast fixture, Chant’s presence and advice at these daily debriefs has soothed families across the state for months. Her hasty removal is a grave mistake.
Perrottet may be working hard to make his mark on NSW’s COVID recovery, but sidelining one of our few aspects of certainty and stability will win him no favours.
Yes, people want a clear pathway out of lockdown, but they also want to feel safe and assured that their health is being prioritised.