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COVID-19 Commander responds to accusations health officials have been fearmongering

Neil Mitchell
Article image for COVID-19 Commander responds to accusations health officials have been fearmongering

Victoria’s COVID-19 commander has defended the state government’s use of frightening language to describe the state’s virus outbreak.

Earlier this week, Australia’s top health official, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, described the virus as an “absolute beast”.

Some in the health community have criticised the language being used by government officials.

But COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar denies he and other state government figures have been unnecessarily stoking fear with their words.

He says his words “were entirely appropriate and relevant to the situation”.

NEIL MITCHELL: “The language was pretty extreme on Tuesday from both you and the minister, Martin Foley. It was almost immediately criticised by damn near every epidemiologist in the country. Did you go too far?”

JEROEN WEIMAR: “I’ve always been very clear … I’m not a clinical specialist, I’m not an epidemiologist. My language was absolutely consistent not only with that used by Brett (Sutton) before and after … but also actually if you read the language used by all the other epidemiologists in this country in the various articles everyone is pretty much on the same page here.”

NEIL MITCHELL: “But they’re saying this was unnecessarily stoking fear!”

JEROEN WEIMAR: “I disagree, and I think certainly, by all means if you want to play back the words I’ve used in the hours of press conference that I’ve been attending the last few weeks I think my words were appropriate and relevant to the situation we were in.”

Mr Weimar says if his words have created unnecessary fear, it’s because of “amplification of certain comments”.

“I think my words were appropriate and relevant to the situation we were in,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“There’s also, of course, an issue of amplification if certain comments are being taken out of context and being wound up a bit then that will go further.

“I will continue to call it the way I see it.”

Press PLAY below to hear Neil Mitchell grilling Jeroen Weimar

Infectious diseases doctor says current ‘level of fear’ about Victorian outbreak is not warranted

Image: Quinn Rooney / Getty

Neil Mitchell
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