Karl’s Ruby Princess grilling: ‘Are you sorry?’
Today host Karl Stefanovic gave NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian a grilling over her government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic on-air this morning.
"I think this is a pretty simple question and I think it's a yes or no answer. Are kids safe going back to school or not?" Stefanovic asked the Premier, ahead of NSW schools' term two which is set to begin on April 27.
"The kids are absolutely safe. Schools are safe environments. That's what the experts have said from day one. What we need to consider in NSW at the time is pick-ups, drop-offs and teachers," the Premier said.
"Health advice we have received in more recent times says that teacher-to-teacher transfer and adults transferring it to each other is a greater risk than the kids."
Father-of-three Stefanovic, who is expecting a baby girl with wife Jasmine Yarbrough, countered, "This is me being a concerned parent, not just a journalist. We have seen these heartbreaking stories of kids dying without anyone around them overseas. We don't know how this virus will manifest itself. No matter what the Prime Minister says, no-one wants to get this virus," he said.
From the thorny issue of schools, Stefanovic then took the Premier to task about her government's handling of the infamous Ruby Princess cruise ship.
Since the ship was allowed to dock in Sydney Harbour three weeks ago, 18 passengers have died and hundreds of confirmed cases of coronavirus have been linked to the vessel.
Stefanovic asked the Premier if she had "any regrets" about the Ruby Princess.
"Not at this stage. But at the end of the day, Karl, this is the biggest issue I think any of us will face in our lives. Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that we would be in the middle of a pandemic," she said.
Stefanovic congratulated Ms Berejiklian on being a "stand-up leader" through the bushfire crisis of summer and now this pandemic - but his compliment had a sting in its tail.
"This is why, for me, I want some straight talking from you about the Ruby Princess. I want you to say, yes, we were responsible. Yes, we stuffed it up. Yes, it caused a great deal of uncertainty. Yes, it caused a great deal of anxiousness and of pain out there in the community," he said.
"Are you sorry for what happened?"
"Of course. I am sorry for every person in Australia who has died because of this virus. Of course. I am human. You're human. Everybody is sorry for what has happened. But we also want to make sure we're able to deal with the facts," Ms Berejiklian said.
Australia's coronavirus death toll has reached 63 and the number of cases today passed 6440.
Ms Berejiklian yesterday urged everybody to get tested in areas identified as having community-to-community transmission, "even if you have the mildest symptom". She said test rates peaked at 4500 in a day last week and the state government wants to see a return to that number.
Originally published as Karl's on-air grilling: 'Are you sorry?'