Jeroen Weimar, the Victorian Covid commander, laughs off his 'poster boy' status.
Another government official was exposed as a 'thirst trap' after his visage appeared on a variety of household items.
Jeroen Weimar, the commander of Victoria's Covid-19, has laughed off suggestions that he has become the state's "poster boy" after his face appeared on a line of household items.
Mr Weimar has been tasked with leading the response to the Delta strain outbreak, which was imported from virus-ridden Sydney and has already spread to Mildura.
On Sunday, during the state's daily coronavirus press conference, he had a lighthearted moment when a reporter inquired whether he was aware his face was on a cushion: "How does it feel being a poster boy?"
Mr Weimar brushed aside the remark, joking that the cushion was a family member's ruse.
“My apologies; I believe my mother orchestrated that,” he explained.
He modestly shifted the focus back to Victorian health workers and residents who were contributing to the virus's suppression.
“In all seriousness, I dropped in last night at about 6.30 PM to a testing site; it was cold, dark, and wet, and a group of people had been there for 12 hours, doing incredible work, and they make a difference,” he explained.
“The people who work in testing stations, pathology, and health services are making a difference, and they are the ones who deserve to be recognized and praised.”
The cushion was created by Melbourne artist Ashley Ellis, who also sells a variety of other Jeroen Weimar accessories online, including phone cases, T-shirts, dressers, coasters, and even a clock.
Ms Ellis stated that she had received "numerous requests" from fans to include Mr Weimar in her collection of portraits created during the city's five lockdowns.
“It appears that many still view 'competent public servants' as thirst traps!” she wrote on social media.
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Ms Ellis has previously painted figures from the Victorian government, including Premier Daniel Andrews in his iconic North Face jacket, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, and former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, previously obscure government bureaucrats have developed cult followings.
That was most evident in Victoria, where Professor Sutton was dubbed a "sex symbol" during the city's 100-plus day lockdown.
Professor Sutton's face has also appeared on coffee mugs and a calendar featuring photographs taken at Victorian press conferences that went on sale in December.