Health Official's 'New World Order' Remarks Spark Online Pandemonium

Conspiracy theorists around the globe were apparently sent into a frenzy after an Australian health official used the phrase "New World Order" during a COVID-19 update.

Dr. Kerry Chant had been giving an update of the COVID-19 situation in the state of New South Wales during a live TV press conference on Thursday when she used the phrase.

During the press conference, Dr. Chant, the state's chief health officer, confirmed workers and customers would need to have been jabbed when New South Wales re-opened on October 18 after the state is expected to reach 70 percent full vaccination.

She added workplaces would need to have a system ready to check vaccination statuses and that there could be a return to listing exposure sites in the state.

But, it was her usage of the phrase "New World Order" that drew the most reactions online from apparent conspiracy theorists.

Dr. Chant added: "We will be looking at what contact tracing looks like in the new world order. Yes, it will be pubs and clubs and other things if we have a positive case there."

She added: "Our response may be different if we know that people are fully vaccinated. So, we're working through a number of those issues."

It is unclear whether Dr. Chant was aware of the significance of the phrase within conspiracy movements.

But, after Dr. Chant made the comment, Newsweek found "New World Order" had become a trending topic on Twitter in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. As of Thursday morning, there had been more than 18,300 tweets referencing "New World Order" across the three countries.

Twitter shared a disclaimer for the trending topic, which read: "Unfounded claims about the 'New World Order' conspiracy theory are shared after an Australian government official used the expression during a press conference on Thursday."

It added: "Fact-checkers have regularly debunked claims connected to the conspiracy theory. The phrase is commonly used to describe times of cultural change or cultural shift."

The New World Order is a popular, and unfounded conspiracy theory that claims a secretive group of global elites puppeteer governments around the world in order to push agendas to limit individual freedoms.

Conspiracy theorists, fringe political figures and online commentators around the globe latched on to Dr. Chant's phrase.

Paul Joseph Watson, who has been associated with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, said of Twitter's disclaimer: "Always funny when they are forced into these desperate denials."

Mayor of London candidate and lockdown skeptic Laurence Fox shared the video and included the phrase "New World Order" in a tweet that was shared thousands of times.

If you're a public health official discussing Covid containment measures in a televised briefing, do not use the phrase "New World Order", a well-known conspiracy theory about an authoritarian world government, in any context, ever. pic.twitter.com/x5SBqhVWV4

— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) September 9, 2021

BBC online disinformation journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh questioned Dr. Chant's use of "New World Order," suggesting it could help spur conspiracy theories.

In a tweet, he said: "If you're a public health official discussing COVID containment measures in a televised briefing, do not use the phrase 'New World Order,' a well-known conspiracy theory about an authoritarian world government, in any context ever."

Dr. Chant sparked conspiracy theories
In this still, Dr. Kerry Chant gives an update about New South Wales COVID response on Thursday, September 9, 2021. Dr. Chant appears to have sent conspiracy theorists into a frenzy when she used the phrase "New World Order." NSW.GOV.AU