Saturday, 14 March 2020

Interview with Chris Smith, 2GB Sydney

Subjects: Coronavirus diagnosis

CHRIS SMITH: Mr Dutton, welcome to the program.

PETER DUTTON: Thanks very much Chris. Pleasure.

CHRIS SMITH: How's the throat, how's the fever, how's the coronavirus?

PETER DUTTON: Yeah look I feel much better this morning I've got to say. I've had excellent care at the Royal Brisbane Hospital with Queensland Health, they've been amazing. The fever has gone. This morning my temperatures down. My throat was very mild to start with, so probably still a bit sore, but very, very mild in that sense. And I've had asthma since I was a child so I guess they were a bit worried about that, but they think my lungs are clear. So all pretty good at the moment and we’ll see how the next few days play out.

CHRIS SMITH: So did you instantly think to yourself it could be coronavirus and how you may have contracted it?

PETER DUTTON: I was conscious of it because obviously we've been receiving medical briefings through the National Security Committee, obviously reading a lot in the newspapers and seeing the reports both from here and internationally as well. So certainly conscious of the symptoms and when I woke up in the early hours of Friday morning with a fever and a sore throat and a slight shortness of breath – but as I say probably nothing more than I would normally have with a change in weather or a bit of cold weather as an asthmatic. So that was that that was my scenario, but obviously for a lot of people can be a lot more severe. Particularly people with respiratory issues, elderly patients etc. So I think everybody's experience will be different but that's mine. And as I say, the health staff have just been fantastic.

CHRIS SMITH: So what happens from here? Does someone in the health department sit down with you and go through with you who you are in contact with on Thursday and Wednesday night, is that how it works?

PETER DUTTON: We did all of that with Queensland Health last night and they are doing tracing now. So we provided all that information, phone numbers etc. to them and their advice to me is that they're concerned with people I've had close contact with since the morning of the 11th.

So beyond that it's not – further back there's some speculation about my visit to the White House etc. but all of the medical advice says that there's no issue in relation to that period or even Cabinet earlier in the week. And that's the very clear medical advice that I've got from Queensland Health.

So they’ll look at people and friends that I've met with over the course of the last – or since the morning of the 11th.

CHRIS SMITH: Now what about family? Have you spent time with family during the time?

PETER DUTTON: I have and that's obviously the most important thing. Well I'm pleased to say that Kirilly and the kids don't have any signs at all. So under the Queensland Health Protocols they're not tested unless there is a specific reason for it and that is if they present with symptoms. But they're self-isolating so that's all good and I hope and pray that continues.

CHRIS SMITH: That's reassuring that you’re getting symptoms like that. I know it's not the same for every person and it would be different from person to person, but that is reassuring that it's very, very mild as Brendan Murphy has been saying.

But you politicians to be serious about this would be shocking carriers if you had bugs or if you had you know viruses like this one because you’re shaking hands, you go from point A to point B to point C to point D in an hour. You'd be shocking carriers.

PETER DUTTON: I think that's right. I think a lot of people in public life, a lot of personalities, TV personalities, and radio personalities etc. people are stopping to say hello. All of that obviously raises concern. However, Queensland Health advised me that they're only really concerned about people where you might have had a two hour close contact with and that's that seems to be the best advice that they've got at the moment.

CHRIS SMITH: A two-hour contact, right? Okay.

PETER DUTTON: Yeah so unless you're in a closed room for a period of time – and I mean you can carry it and be asymptomatic and not have the symptoms, or not be contagious at different points. So I think it's important for people to really look at the information that's coming off the websites and not off social media. I think this is really one of those times Chris where people need to get all the facts as opposed to the hype.

You know lots of us read social media and look at links to different news stories etc. but I honestly believe that we will come through this much more effectively if we listen to the advice of the Premiers, the Prime Minister, the Chief Medical Officer, the health officers from each of the states and territories. Look at the health websites and get all the information as opposed to what some mates told you over a beer or somebody told you over a cup of coffee. I think it’s incredibly important now because there's so much misinformation spreading around how you get the facts.

CHRIS SMITH: So I guess for the next 12 to 14 days the epicentre of Home Affairs will be the Dutton household?

PETER DUTTON: Well I'm in hospital. So Queensland Health policy is that if you tested positive you must come to hospital. So I'm happy to have you do that, but I've still got a phone and laptop and my secure video conferencing device. So I should be pretty contactable and hopefully be a reasonable patient, probably a better patient than if I was at home children with my wife and children I suspect Chris.

But anyway I feel for – one of the things I might say in this scenario that you really do feel is sort of a sense of guilt if you've been in contact with mates or family that you know they may contract it. But there's nobody that we've spoken to, including close mates or people that we've met, that have any symptoms so I'm just really pleased for that and I hope that continues.

CHRIS SMITH: That's as a good point. All right. Enjoy the hospitality at the hospital and thank you very much for your time this afternoon.

PETER DUTTON: Thanks Chris, take care mate.