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Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, says death threats and extreme trolling have taken an “enormous toll”, with a permanent police escort now assigned to the officer.
The state’s leadership, including Young, have come under intense scrutiny in recent days over Queensland’s hardline approach to border control, which has prevented multiple family members from attending loved one’s funerals.
The Queensland AMA president, Chris Perry, told the Today show on Monday that Young had been receiving death threats. He said she now required police guards at her home and officers “who go with her everywhere” for her safety.
“It has been quite stressful and it hasn’t been helped by cowardly people threatening to take the life of a woman,” he said.
“It has been quite toxic.”
On Monday, Young confirmed the intense online trolling has been extremely difficult to deal with.
“But then, this [pandemic] has taken an enormous toll on nearly every single person in our community,” she said.
“We can’t see a clear end to this. So, we’re going to all have to work this through together and work out how we can manage this as well as go forward.”
Young said the government’s support had helped her feel “much, much safer” while doing her job.
The state’s Liberal opposition and the federal government have been extremely critical of the Queensland government’s approach to border controls, which has only limited exemptions for compassionate reasons from NSW, Victoria and the ACT.
On Thursday, the prime minister suggested the country could be “losing its humanity” during the pandemic while referencing the case of 26-year-old resident Sarah Caisip, who was barred from attending her father’s funeral last week.
Queensland’s health minister, Steven Miles, criticised Scott Morrison on Monday for getting involved in Caisip’s case after another family member accused the prime minister of using the matter to “advance his political agenda”.
“We’ve learnt in recent days the prime minister made a mistake talking about a couple of individual cases recently and was left with egg on his face when the facts of those cases came out,” he said.
Miles refused to answer questions at Monday’s press conference about other families struggling to get into the state to farewell dying relatives.
“I never have and never will address individual cases … I know that the chief health officer and her team go through [all exemption applications] very, very carefully, and wherever they can they are as compassionate as they possibly can be, while also ensuring Queenslanders are kept safe,” he said.
Perry told the Today show Young had been working from 5am to 10pm every day in order to get through hundreds of applications for border control exemptions, and has now had to enlist additional help.
“It was quite hard work. She now has eight or 10 people who can help her do that,” he said.
Queensland reported no new cases of Covid-19 on Monday.
Source: The Guardian
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