High-profile doctor Nick Coatsworth has apologised for behind-the-scenes tension Lisa Wilkinson, after he lashed out at her for backing harsh Covid rules.
The former deputy chief medical officer is a regular on the The Project, which Wilkinson hosts, but re-tweeted posts calling her rich and privileged.
Dr Coatsworth differs with Wilkinson on her support of strict Covid rules such as NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern imposing 24 days of isolation on household close contacts of Covid cases.
‘Lisa Wilkinson praising NZ for putting close contacts in 24 days of isolation just shows her inner city, multi-millionaire, guaranteed wage privilege,’ one tweet read.
Former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth is a regular on The Project but recently re-tweeted a number of posts critical of one of its hosts, Lisa Wilkinson
Ms Wilkinson has been a trenchant critic of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for their support of relaxing Covid restrictions in the wake of the Omicron variant spreading in Australia
One of the Twitter posts re-tweeted by Dr Coatsworth, suggesting Ms Wilkinson isolate herself for 24 months
Another tweet re-posted by Dr Coatsworth commented on a news story about Ms Wilkinson.
‘Lisa Wilkinson is more than welcome to isolate herself – I would suggest no outside contact so no media appearances – for 24 days,’ it read.
‘Indeed 24 days is not safe enough – make it 24 months.’
He also retweeted a post by Carrick Ryan claiming Wilkinson ‘only ever criticises one political party, which renders her opinion about as useful as a Sky News host’.
Dr Coatsworth admitted he retweeted the posts in ‘a moment of weakness’ and regretted being so hard on the TV presenter.
‘It’s not ideal – I’ve got a pretty good relationship with The Project,’ he told The Australian’s Media Diary.
‘I’m sort of trying to hose it down. It was a moment of weakness when I sent out the tweets.
‘I’ve got nothing against her personally. I just fell into the trap of saying it on Twitter.’
Wilkinson has been a relentless critic of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for their support of relaxing Covid restrictions as the Omicron variant arrived in Australia.
A week ago she compared Australia’s approach to Omicron with New Zealand’s after Ms Ardern announced the new measures.
‘Wowee – 24 days (in isolation)! If that doesn’t give you an indication that Jacinda Ardern has looked across the ditch at our bin fire and gone, “Not doing that!” Wow!’ she said.
Australia’s national policy is now for Covid cases and close contacts to isolate for only seven days.
Dr Coatsworth, by contrast, has opposed zero-Covid policy and is a prominent supporter of rolling back Australia’s pandemic restrictions in a highly vaccinated population.
Wilkinson criticised Dr Coatsworth in December for defending the decision by Mr Perrottet to drop the mask mandate in NSW on December 15.
‘You’ve seen those numbers in NSW, they’re going through the roof,’ she told the doctor on The Project.
‘People’s Christmases are being destroyed – because that’s the state where there’s no mask mandate.’
One of Dr Coatsworth’s retweets reads: ‘Lisa Wilkinson praising NZ for putting close contacts in 24 days of isolation just shows her inner city, multi-millionaire, guaranteed wage privilege.’ NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) recently introduced up to 24 days of isolation for household close contacts of positive cases
Ms Wilkinson had criticised Dr Coatsworth in December for defending the decision by Mr Perrottet to drop the mask mandate in NSW on December 15 (Pictured: Sydney residents wearing masks)
Dr Coatsworth responded on air that instead of mandates, there should be more of a focus on ‘helping people make their own decisions – good decisions – about how to protect themselves and others’.
‘We’re in such a different position [than 2020]. We have vaccines that work. We know that if you get a booster your immunity’s back up within a week to where it was before,’ he said.
‘I can understand why Lisa said it,’ Dr Coatsworth told the Australian about Wilkinson’s comments to him in December.
‘But the measures she was calling for would not have saved Christmas.’
He also tried to soften his fractious relationship with the star, saying Wilkinson was ‘a good presenter, a good host’.
‘She’s passionate about her views,’ Dr Coatsworth said.
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