Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce tests positive to Covid-19 in the US

Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has tested positive to Covid-19 while in the United States.

Mr Joyce was experiencing “mild to medium flu-like symptoms” and got tested after arriving into Washington DC from London.

Mr Joyce said his travelling companions had so far tested negative.

Mr Joyce will isolate for 10 days before he is able to return home to Australia.

“If I could just work out which one of these channels has the cricket, I’m going to be so much better off,” he told Sky News, which is available to stream on Flash.

“I was just getting a bit tired and then I started to get some pain in my leg, so I got tested … I’d already been tested twice in the last couple of days in the UK.

“This was just as we arrived in the United States, but that’s life.”

Mr Joyce said he didn’t feel “that bad”.

“You really have to sort of quiz yourself as to whether you need to be tested at all because it doesn’t sort of scream at you,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison texted Mr Joyce early on Thursday morning.

“Barnaby tells me he’s feeling alright, apart from the mild illness,” Mr Morrison said.

“He has been vaccinated and what we do know already is that vaccinations do have an impact on the seriousness of the disease. And that’s why it’s so important to get vaccinated.

“It’s another important reminder of why the booster program is also so important, and I encourage everybody to get their boosters.”

Camera IconBarnaby Joyce said he had been experiencing ‘mild to medium’ flu symptoms. NewsWire/Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

When asked whether his diagnosis has changed his perspective on Australia needing to learn to “get on” with their lives and live with Covid, Mr Joyce said he was “still of the same view”.

“You can’t just shut the whole place down, the whole world has got to move on,” he said.

“We’ve got to work out how we keep people out of hospitals, that’s terribly important. We’ve got to make sure people get vaccinated.

“And we’ve got to work out the best way to try and manage and move on and get our lives back to as normal as we possibly can.

“I hope that in the future, rather than being isolated, it will be like the flu, where if you get it you go home and you manage it yourself … And people should be getting like they get a flu shot every year, get a Covid vaccine every year.

“I mean, that’s my dream.”

Camera IconMr Joyce was in Washington DC as part of a mission to crack down on Facebook. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Joyce is on a 10-day trip to London and Washington DC, where he is drumming up support to curb social media companies, including Facebook.

He was scheduled to meet Republican senator Ted Cruz, a fierce Facebook critic, and Marsha Blackburn, who has been instrumental in a US senate committee that has targeted the company over online safety for children.

Mr Morrison said he knew Mr Joyce had been “really looking forward” to what he was planning to do in the United States.

“He has, together with myself and so many members of my team been so focused on this issue of keeping particularly young people and women safe online, m and he’s been a real champion of this cause,” Mr Morrison said.

“Barnaby was in the US pressing these issues ensuring we are holding the big digital and social media companies to account.

“I know he’s naturally disappointed because he won’t be able to do that.”

Mr Joyce said he was “disappointed” that he would need to cancel his meetings, which also included with defence stakeholders related to the AUKUS treaty.

Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud said he had been in touch with Mr Joyce on Thursday morning.

“He’s isolating in the US until it’s safe for him to come home and we wish him all the best for his recovery,” Mr Littleproud said.

Originally published as Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce tests positive to Covid-19 in the US

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