Ben Morton catches COVID-19 after three-hour meeting with cabinet ministers and senior officials

By Melissa Coade

March 3, 2022

Ben Morton
Ben Morton, too. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Only a week after public health restrictions in the ACT were eased, heralding the largest return of public servants to their offices in Canberra, the minister for the public service is self-isolating after returning a positive COVID test.

Morton, the PM’s right-hand man, issued a similar statement about his positive test to one released by Scott Morrison the day earlier on March 1.

“This morning I tested positive to COVID-19. I am not experiencing any significant symptoms, only a headache,” Morton’s statement read on Wednesday.

The minister said he would continue to fulfill his ministerial and electorate responsibilities while in isolation until he was able to return to Western Australia. The self-quarantine will mean Morton misses the long awaited opening of WA borders to interstate travellers on Thursday.

Morton is among a handful of top level government officials, including bureaucrats from defence and intelligence, who participated in a three-hour face-to-face meeting with the prime minister before he announced he had caught the virus. 

Defence minister Peter Dutton, treasurer Josh Frydenberg and home affairs minister Karen Andrews were also at the National Security Committee of Cabinet meeting. 

The prime minister’s daily precautions have included daily Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs). He developed a cough on Sunday, after which time he took a test prior to every in-person meeting. 

On Tuesday the PM met with the National Security Committee of Cabinet and attended a press conference after returning negative RAT results.

Morrison is isolating in Sydney with his family and also working remotely.


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