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Queensland’s deputy premier APOLOGISES to grieving family of miner wrongly diagnosed with COVID-19

The grieving family of a man wrongly declared Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim has received an apology from the Queensland government – as his grieving fiancée paid an emotional tribute.

Nathan Turner, 30, was found dead on May 26 at his home in the mining town of Blackwater, with Queensland officials later claiming he had died from COVID-19.

After nearly a week of fear and panic in the town, a further test revealed Mr Turner never had the virus.

On Tuesday, Queensland’s deputy premier apologised to his grieving family, who said they endured ’emotional, mental and physical trauma’.

Stephen Miles said Mr Turner had initially tested positive for the virus, which sparked a testing spree in the small town.

Paying tribute to her partner on Wednesday morning, his fiancée Ms Devon posted a picture of the miner online – with a message reading ‘Family is everything’. 

Nathan Turner (pictured, left) with his partner Simone Devon (right), who discovered his body last Tuesday after she returned from work

Mr Turner's friends have created a Change.org petition calling on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Dr Young apologise to his family

Mr Turner’s friends have created a Change.org petition calling on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Dr Young apologise to his family

He hadn’t left the town since February, igniting fears that an infected nurse from 200km in Rockhampton may have passed on the virus during a road trip. 

But multiple tests have since revealed he never had the virus, with officials admitting the family had been put through unnecessary suffering.  

‘Our ability to control this virus requires us to respond rapidly to every single positive test,’ the deputy premier and health minister told reporters on Tuesday.

‘We have to treat ever positive test as though it is a positive case.

‘However, I would like to personally apologise to his partner and his family for any distress that our actions in responding rapidly has caused them. 

Nathan Turner's family are demanding an apology from the government after he was declared 'Australia's youngest COVID-19 victim' only for an autopsy to reveal he never had the virus

Nathan Turner’s family are demanding an apology from the government after he was declared ‘Australia’s youngest COVID-19 victim’ only for an autopsy to reveal he never had the virus 

Nathan Turner's grieving fiancée posted this (pictured) to social media on Wednesday, in honour of her partner

Nathan Turner’s grieving fiancée posted this (pictured) to social media on Wednesday, in honour of her partner

‘I know it’s been incredibly distressing for them.’ 

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said false positive tests for coronavirus were extremely rare.

She said the results were compromised by the fact that one sample from Mr Turner was contaminated with excessive blood from the post-mortem process.

‘There are two potential answers here. One is that it was a false positive. The other is that it was a true positive,’ Dr Young said.

‘And we won’t know which it was, but I am confident about the actions that were taken on that night to protect the community of Blackwater.’

Panic was sparked across the central Queensland town, with testing centres popping up – after fears it would became the next coronavirus cluster.

Mr Turner's family are demanding Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also say sorry to the Blackwater community for creating 'chaos and panic' in the small mining town

Mr Turner’s family are demanding Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also say sorry to the Blackwater community for creating ‘chaos and panic’ in the small mining town

Mystery surrounded how Mr Turner apparently contracted the disease, with no other case ever being recorded in the area.

News of a party held at his house in the days before his death only intensified the fears, but all tested locals have returned negative results. 

His fiancée, Ms Devon, found her partner dead as she returned home from work at a local bakery on March 26.

When he later tested positive, according to officials, it fueled a lockdown of the regional town – with paramedics, policeman and locals all forced to quarantine. 

Mr Turner’s friends created a Change.org petition calling on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and chief health officer Young to apologise to his family and the community for creating ‘chaos and panic’.

Nathan Turner (pictured), who was thought to be Australia's youngest COVID-19 victim, didn't die from the virus

Nathan Turner (pictured), who was thought to be Australia’s youngest COVID-19 victim, didn’t die from the virus 

‘Your leadership created emotional, mental and physical trauma to the loved ones of Nathan’s family and friends and especially to his fiancée Simone who endured so much pain then anyone else,’ family friend Nicole Muller wrote on the petition.

‘Nathan’s passing was used as tool to create chaos and panic to a community, state and a country.

‘You should be ashamed of yourself and if you had any human decency left then you will apologise for creating trauma to this family whilst you caused panic to our community.

‘This is unacceptable behaviour from our leaders in power who forced a family to sit in silence and not to comment about the chaos they were about to inflict on our state.’

The petition has already gathered 3,144 signatures.

Mr Turner (pictured) had a series of health problems and had been off work since November after suffering seizures

Mr Turner (pictured) had a series of health problems and had been off work since November after suffering seizures

Locals are seen queuing to get coronavirus tests on Thursday in Blackwater (pictured) with officials baffled as to how a local man contracted the disease

Locals are seen queuing to get coronavirus tests on Thursday in Blackwater (pictured) with officials baffled as to how a local man contracted the disease

Ms Devon, who works at the town’s bakery, broke the news that her fiancée never had coronavirus via her employer’s Facebook page.

‘We have just got word from our staff member Nathan’s partner that his autopsy report has come in and Nathan has been CLEARED as COVID 19 NEGATIVE,’ Ms Devon’s colleague Kelly Bunyoung posted on Facebook.

Queensland Health confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19.

‘The coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19. He is yet to determine the man’s cause of death,’ Dr Young said on Monday.

Ms Devon’s mother Lorraine told The Australian Queensland’s coroner had confirmed the results of the post mortem to the family.

Nathan Turner (pictured) worked as a miner, but had been off work since November, officials said

Nathan Turner (pictured) hadn't left his hometown of Blackwater since February, but still contracted COVID-19 and died on Tuesday

Nathan Turner (pictured) worked as a miner, but had been off work since November, officials said

Mr Turner's body was discovered in his Blackwater home (pictured) on Tuesday after his fiancée returned from work at a local bakery

Mr Turner’s body was discovered in his Blackwater home (pictured) on Tuesday after his fiancée returned from work at a local bakery

‘They have told us that there was no trace of the virus in his system,’ she said.

‘The autopsy has not been completed, and they can’t yet say how he died.’ 

Mr Turner suffered from a series of health problems and had been off work since November after suffering seizures.

Since his death, Mr Turner’s family had maintained they didn’t believe COVID-19 caused his death, as he also suffered from epilepsy and asthma, and regularly caught the flu. 

Ms Devon tested negative to the virus three times and more than 500 Blackwater residents also returned negative results.

On Tuesday, Queensland's deputy premier Stephen Miles (pictured) made a personal apology to Mr Turner's family

On Tuesday, Queensland’s deputy premier Stephen Miles (pictured) made a personal apology to Mr Turner’s family

THE DEATH OF NATHAN TURNER 

TUESDAY MAY 26: Nathan Turner was found dead at his home in Blackwater, in regional Queensland, by his fiancee Simone Devon.

WEDNESDAY MAY 27: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk held a press conference with health authorities and said Mr Turner died from coronavirus. 

Ms Devon was put into isolation after experiencing coronavirus symptoms. 

Mystery surrounded the suspected coronavirus case, after it was revealed Mr Turner had not left the small town in months and there were no other known local cases. 

Since his May 26 death, Mr Turner’s family maintained they didn’t believe COVID-19 caused his death, as he also suffered from epilepsy and asthma, and regularly caught the flu. 

MONDAY JUNE 1: Autopsy found Mr Turner did not have the deadly virus. 

Mr Turner’s friends created a Change.org petition calling on Ms Palaszczuk and chief health officer Jeannette Young to apologise to his family and the community for creating ‘chaos and panic’. 

Queensland Health confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19.  

‘The Coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19. He is yet to determine the man’s cause of death,’ Dr Young said.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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