Australia’s Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce Contracts COVID-19

By Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.
December 9, 2021 Updated: December 9, 2021

The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Barnaby Joyce has contracted COVID-19 while on a 10 day working trip to the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (U.S.).

Joyce, who tested positive for the novel coronavirus after arriving in the U.S, was in the middle of talks to focus on levelling up Australia infrastructure ties with the UK and U.S. and on the Morrison government’s plan to tackle social media bullying.

Speaking on Sky News on Thursday Joyce said he thinks he caught the virus in the UK after he tested negative twice to the virus while in London, but believes he is still at the start of his illness, given his symptoms are relatively mild.

“I think it’s just starting,” Joyce said. “I don’t feel that bad–that’s the crazy thing.”

“You really have to quiz yourself as to whether you need to be tested at all because it does not scream at you,” he said.

Joyce has been fully vaccinated with COVID-19 jabs.

However,  the deputy prime minister was prosaic about contracting the CCP virus saying it was just life and he would not have even thought he was really ill.

He also stood firm on his belief that the world needs to move onto living with the coronavirus.

” We just can’t shut the whole place down. The world is got to move on,” he said. ” It is just not economically possible for any nation to go into a permanent shut down. If you want to pay for your social security, pay for your health and schools then the economy has got to be making money and it can’t make any money if everybody’s at home.”

In particular Joyce would like to see Australia move to a system where people were able to treat COVID-19 infections like the flu and no longer use isolation as a method of control.

Meanwhile, Joyce is now in isolation in the United States for the next ten days and will miss his arranged meeting with U.S. officials, including discussion around the implementation of better controls around social media giants like Facebook.

Currently, the Australian government is looking to implement better controls around how social media platforms manage content on their sites. In particular, Joyce singled out trying to establish some caveats around online bullying and intimidation from anonymous sources.

“We want to make sure we have better controls around on what facebook and other online platforms are putting on in your child bedroom,” Joyce said.

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.