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Coronavirus Australia: Treasurer negative after coughing fit

Josh Frydenberg has tested negative for coronavirus after suffering a coughing fit in parliament.

Mid-way though a speech on the economic impact of the virus, the federal treasurer started coughing and had to pause to drink water.

He tried to resume speaking but began coughing again and more sips of water did little to help.

The fit lasted close to two minutes before he battled through the rest of the speech.

Afterwards, Mr Frydenberg left parliament house, got tested and began self-isolating. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is being tested for coronavirus after having a coughing fit in parliament

Queensland Senator Matt Canavan on Wednesday told the Today Show he was glad the result was negative, and praised Mr Frydenberg for ‘doing the right thing, following the advice’ and getting tested.

Today Show host Karl Stefanovic interrupted to say: ‘There’s no way he did the right thing going in front of everyone and making that speech when he knew he was sick.’

3AW’s Neil Mitchell agreed.

‘He must have known there was a bit of something going on in his throat. It was quite a chesty cough,’ Mitchell said.

‘Josh should have stayed home. No way Josh should have been there but he does soldier on. Then he coughed into the wrong place. Coughed into his hand.’

Senator Canavan said the coughing fit does not necessarily mean he was sick or had prior symptoms.

In an earlier statement, Mr Frydenberg said he had a ‘dry mouth’ and a cough and got tested out of ‘an abundance of caution’ on the advice of the deputy chief medical officer. 

‘Today while delivering my ministerial statement I had a dry mouth and a cough,’ the statement read.

‘After question time I sought the advice of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO).

‘The DCMO advised me that out of an abundance of caution it was prudent I be tested for COVID-19.

‘Following the receipt of his advice I immediately left Parliament House to be tested and will await the result in isolation.’ 

A handful of federal politicians have caught coronavirus, including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. 

The treasurer had to pause to drink water and struggled to talk without coughing during a speech in parliament today on the economic impact of coronavirus

The treasurer had to pause to drink water and struggled to talk without coughing during a speech in parliament today on the economic impact of coronavirus

In a statement, the treasurer said he had a 'dry mouth' and a cough and is going to get tested out of 'an abundance of caution' on the advice of the deputy chief medical officer

In a statement, the treasurer said he had a ‘dry mouth’ and a cough and is going to get tested out of ‘an abundance of caution’ on the advice of the deputy chief medical officer

In his speech, Mr Frydenberg warned Australia faces a bleak economic future with unemployment hitting 10 per cent in June.

A total of 1.4million Australians will be out of work after coronavirus lockdowns forced whole industries to shut down. 

The unemployment figure has not been in the double digits since 26 years ago in April 1994.

Australia has only had double-digit unemployment during the 1930s Great Depression, the early 1980s and early 1990s. 

The treasury estimates that gross domestic product will drop by more than 10 per cent in the June quarter, the country’s biggest fall ever.

The $50billion loss is equivalent to the total quarterly production of South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT, the treasurer told parliament today.  

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (pictured today) has warned Australia faces a bleak economic future with unemployment hitting 10 per cent in June

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (pictured today) has warned Australia faces a bleak economic future with unemployment hitting 10 per cent in June

Furthermore, household spending is expected to be 16 per cent down in the June quarter, with business investment down 18 per cent.

‘The combination of social distancing, lower incomes, and increased uncertainty are weighing heavily on aggregate demand and flowing through to reduced cashflow,’ the treasurer said.

Australia’s economy by end of June quarter

Unemployment to hit 10%

GDP to drop !0% in biggest fall ever

Household spending down 16%

Business investment down 18%

New car sales halved

New house sales down 40%

Air travel down 97%

Businesses’ wages bill down 8.2% 

Number of jobs down 7.5% 

 

Mr Frydenberg said the economic data has been ‘sobering’.

‘In March, business and consumer confidence saw the largest declines on record and the ASX 200 lost more than a third of its value in just over four weeks,’ he said.

‘In April, surveys showed that job ads halved and activity in the construction, manufacturing and the services sector had their largest ever monthly falls. 

‘New motor vehicle sales fell by 48 per cent through the year, their largest ever fall. 

‘House sales fell by 40 per cent. Domestic and international air travel is down by more than 97 per cent.’

About 40,000 passengers used used Brisbane Airport on Easter Sunday last year, compared with just 31 this year.

‘Between the 14 March and 18 April, the number of jobs decreased by 7.5 per cent,’ the treasurer added. 

‘And the wages bill paid by businesses decreased by 8.2 per cent. During this period, accommodation and food services saw the largest fall in jobs at 33.4 per cent, followed by the arts and recreation sector at 27 per cent,’ the treasurer said.

The economy is bleeding $4billion a week due to lockdown. Pictured: Centrelink queues

The economy is bleeding $4billion a week due to lockdown. Pictured: Centrelink queues

Despite the stark figures, Mr Frydenberg said there was reason to hope.

The treasury estimates that the lifting of restrictions by July get 850,000 back to work.

More than half of those workers will come from hospitality, the arts and transport, postal and warehousing services.

‘Construction with 45,000 jobs and manufacturing with 20,000 jobs will also be significant contributors,’ the treasurer said.

Economic effects of lifting restrictions 

Opening shops: $2.9billion  

Opening cafes, pubs, clubs, entertainment venues, health and fitness gymnasiums: $2.4 billion

Restarting schools: $2.2 billion 

Resuming local government, museums, and parks: $1.2 billion

The relaxation of travel restrictions: $700 million 

Concluding, the treasurer said: ‘We can be confident about our future. This virus will not defeat us. We must stay strong. We must stay together. We must maintain our resolve.

‘The fighting Australian spirit will see us come through stronger than ever.’

Deloitte Access Economics is predicting the budget deficit will be the biggest as a share of the economy since World War II.

It is predicting a $143billion budget deficit for 2019-20, representing a huge 7.3 per cent of gross domestic product.

Only a year ago, Mr Frydenberg had promised a $7.1billion budget surplus for this financial year, a month before the May election.

Treasury shrunk that surplus to $5billion in December 2019 – weeks before China belatedly confirmed the first cases of coronavirus in Wuhan.

The following financial year will also be expensive with Deloitte Access Economics forecasting a $132billion deficit for 2020-21, making up 7.2 per cent of GDP. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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