Barnaby Joyce’s random virus claim
BARNABY Joyce has tried to assuage coronavirus fears by saying the viral outbreak poses less of a threat to Australians than snakes.
"Look, it's tragic, we've had over 3000 deaths globally, but you'd need about 30 to 40 times that number to equate to the deaths from snake bites," he said on Sunrise this morning.
"People aren't going down to the shops, running the place out of shotgun shells, compression bandages, antivenin. People are still walking through the long grass," he said.
Dr Timothy Jackson, who works at the Australian Venom Research Unit at the University of Melbourne, laughed when he first heard Joyce's comments.
"What we need to highlight, to make that statement even remotely accurate, is that he has to be referring to the snake bite death toll globally," Dr Jackson told news.com.au.
"The figures he is sort of referring to are from the developing world, such as south-east Asia and India.
"Whereas in Australia there are two deaths per year on average from snake bites."
Barnaby Joyce also ridiculed Australians who were panic buying toilet paper due to COVID-19 fears.
"All the toilet paper going, what are they doing? I've worked out they're going to wet themselves, wrap it around them, walk down Martin Place," he said.
"Then they won't catch anything because no one will go near them because they look like they belong in a psych ward.
"We've got to make sure we get a reality check here."
Australia has been gripped by a toilet paper shortage since early last week, with stores nationwide running out of the important household item.
Major supermarket outlets have announced extreme restrictions in a bid to ensure everyone has access to roll.
A fight even broke out on the weekend as two shoppers wrestled for toilet paper in the Chullora store in Sydney's southwest. The two women have since been charged over the incident.
Pauline Hanson also spoke out publicly against the panic buying of toilet paper.
The One Nation leader said people who lived in the outback used gum leaves instead of loo roll, and said those who were hoarding were "idiots".
She also suggested those who ran out of toilet paper could rinse themselves off in the shower.
"I tell you what if you can't do that then get in the bloody shower and wash yourself down for Christ's sake," Ms Hanson told the Today show.
"I can't believe how people are going berserk over this whole thing. They're idiots. People have become so precious these days."
Ms Hanson also said the coronavirus outbreak should serve as "a wake up call" to the Federal Government and businesses.
"I think they need to have a hard look at themselves about encouraging manufacturing and industry in Australia," she said.
"Make ourselves self-reliant instead of relying on product from overseas. I hope that we start looking at that now in light of the coronavirus."