Australia’s deputy prime minister tests positive for Covid-19

Barnaby Joyce, who is fully vaccinated, said that he had been experiencing mild symptoms.

Barnaby Joyce takes the oath of office as he was sworn in as deputy prime minister at Government House in Canberra, Australia, on July 19, 2016
Barnaby Joyce takes the oath of office as he was sworn in as deputy prime minister at Government House in Canberra, Australia, on July 19, 2016

Australia’s deputy prime minister has tested positive for the coronavirus while travelling in Washington DC.

Barnaby Joyce, who is fully vaccinated, said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he had been experiencing mild symptoms and decided to get tested. He said he would remain in isolation while seeking further advice.

Mr Joyce added the remaining members of his travelling delegation had tested negative.

It was not immediately clear what variant of the virus Mr Joyce had contracted.

Before arriving in the US, he had travelled to London and met with top officials there as part of a 10-day trip to discuss his government’s plans for regulating social media.

Mr Joyce told ABC Radio New England he was “very frustrated I’m going to be locked up in a room by myself for 10 days, but that’s part of the process”.

He told the radio station that part of his job involved travelling and meeting with counterparts.

Mr Joyce said: “I really wanted to follow up on some of this online stuff, try to get better online protection laws and see where the United States are. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

Australia has been a prominent voice in calling for international regulation of the internet.

It passed laws this year that oblige Google and Facebook to pay for journalism. Australia also defied the tech companies by creating a law that could imprison social media executives if their platforms stream violent images.

Australia has also announced plans to crack down on online advertisers targeting children by making social media platforms seek parental consent for users younger than 16 years old or face hefty fines.

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