Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told a Victorian public health official to 'stick to her day job' after she likened COVID-19 to Captain Cook's voyage to Australia in response to the 250th anniversary of his arrival.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen compared the famous voyage to the current pandemic that has claimed more than 90 lives across Australia in a tweet on Wednesday.
'Sudden arrival of an invader from another land, decimating populations, creating terror. Forces the population to make enormous sacrifices & completely change how they live in order to survive. COVID-19 or Cook 1770?'
Mr Morrison told 2GB's Alan Jones he found the comments 'very disappointing' on Friday.
'She clearly wouldn't get the job as chief historian.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) has told a Victorian public health official to stick to her day job after she likened COVID-19 to Captain Cook's voyage to Australia in response to the 250th anniversary of his arrival
Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen (pictured) compared the famous voyage to the current pandemic that has claimed more than 90 lives across Australia in a tweet on Wednesday
'I applaud the work she is doing as a medical officer in Victoria, that's her expertise, I would strongly suggest she keep to that, because those sort of comments don't inspire confidence.
'People should stick to their day jobs.'
Mr Morrison went on to tell Jones he had every intention of pushing ahead with a global inquiry into the source of the COVID-19 outbreak, and rubbished claims by mining magnate Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest that the virus could have started anywhere.
'I don't think anybody is in any fantasy land about where it started – it started in China,' he said.
'What the world over needs to know – and there's a lot of support for this – is how did it start and what are the lessons to be learned. That needs to be done independently. And why do we want to know that? Because it could happen again.'
China has repeatedly refused to welcome an international investigation into the outbreak, and has described the demands of Australia as 'political manoeuvring'.
Forrest sparked outrage on Thursday by 'hijacking' a press conference with Health Minister Greg Hunt by inviting Chinese spy turned Victorian consul-general Long Zhou, who made a speech praising China.
Earlier this month the billionaire said Australia should take 'positive steps' instead of looking for who is to blame for the pandemic.
'Because it [the origin of the virus] just might be Australia, it just might be Britain, it just might be China,' Forrest told told the West Australian's podcast on April 2.
Dr van Diemen posted this to Twitter on Wednesday, the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook's arrival at Botany Bay, Sydney, in 1770
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told the Nine network Dr van Diemen has been running 'culture war debates', and declared: 'She is unfit for that office and she should go.'
Opposition politician Tim Smith said it was not the 'time' for such comparisons.
'What's with the culture wars crap from a state health bureaucrat at a time like this?' Mr Smith said.
'Comparing the extraordinary first voyage of Captain Cook where he charted the East Coast of Australia for the first time to a deadly virus is disgraceful.
'You've lost the plot.'
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stepped in to defend Dr van Diemen and said his