One of Australia’s top doctors has taken a brutal stance against The Project host Lisa Wilkinson, after she branded Australia’s Covid response a “bin fire”.
One of Australia’s top doctors has taken aim at The Project host Lisa Wilkinson, after she likened Australia’s Covid situation to a “bin fire”.
Wilkinson made the comment on Sunday’s episode of the program, during a segment comparing Australia and New Zealand’s different responses to the Omicron variant.
On Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced new restrictions that mean household close contacts of a Covid case could be forced to isolate for a whopping 24 days.
In comparison, Covid cases and close contacts in Australia must isolate for seven days. The country has also pushed ahead with mostly eased restrictions, despite Covid-19 case numbers being higher than ever before.
Wilkinson appeared blown away by the new measures in New Zealand, saying: “Wowee – 24 days (in isolation)! If that doesn’t give you an indication that Jacinda Ardern has looked across the ‘ditch’ at our bin fire and gone, ‘Not doing that!’ Wow!”.
The Project host’s comments have proved to be controversial, with former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth blasting Wilkinson on social media.
Dr Coatsworth retweeted several Twitter posts slamming Wilkinson and calling out her “privilege”.
“Lisa Wilkinson praising NZ for putting close contacts in 24 days of isolation just shows her inner city, multi-millionaire, guaranteed wage privilege,” one of the posts from Dec Cunningham read.
“I wonder what she’d say if Ardern was PM of Australia and Morrison was PM of New Zealand.”
Another post from David Southwell suggested Wilkinson was more than welcome to follow New Zealand’s new isolation rules.
“Lisa Wilkinson is more than welcome to isolate herself – I would suggest no outside contact so no media appearances – for 24 days. Indeed 24 days is not safe enough – make it 24 months,” he wrote.
Another post shared by Dr Coatsworth pointed out that Wilkinson “only ever criticises one political party”.
“It does however make her more popular than someone like Waleed Aly who fearlessly critiques both sides of the political spectrum,” Carrick Ryan wrote in the post.
“Whether you like Waleed or not, he has proven he is not playing to any crowd and isn’t afraid of alienating his ‘base’ (because he doesn’t have one). This makes his opinion infinitely more interesting than someone who consistently and shamelessly seeks to advance an agenda.
“Fans of Morrison will give Wilkinson’s words about as much thought as Albanese fans give to Alan Jones’. It’s clickbait for the cheer squad, but none of it challenges anyone.”
Ardern cancels wedding over new restrictions
The decision to move back to “red” Covid restrictions for New Zealand has put a hold on Ms Ardern’s wedding to her fiance Clarke Gayford.
In the red traffic light setting, masks are mandatory when on public transport, in retail and for children above grade four in schools. There are capacity limits on retail, and with a “vaccine pass” many businesses, including hospitality, gyms and weddings, can have up to 100 people.
“My wedding will not be going ahead but I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic,” Ms Ardern said in a press conference on Sunday.
“To anyone whose caught up in that scenario I’m so sorry but we are all so resilient and I know we understand that we’re doing this for one another and I know that will help as continue on.”
When asked how she felt about it, Ms Ardern responded: “Such is life”.
“I’m no different to dare I say it thousands of other New Zealanders who have had much more devastating impacts felt by the pandemic.
“The most gutting of which the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when they’re gravely ill. That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience.”
Ms Ardern became engaged to TV presenter Mr Gayford in 2019. The couple have a three-year-old daughter, Neve.
New Zealand’s strategy is to “slow the spread” of Omicron.
“Our plan for managing Omicron in the early stage remains the same as Delta, where we will rapidly test, contact trace and isolate cases and contacts,” Ms Ardern said.