NSW's health minister denies there was a "sting" to stop a Sydney comedian from continuing to announce the state's daily virus counts 12 hours ahead of the government.
Starting last Tuesday night, Jon-Bernard Kairouz has correctly reported how many cases NSW would announce the following morning five times. But his streak ended on Monday morning with his prediction of 109 beyond the actual figure of 98.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was a "disappointment ... someone, somewhere in the system" felt it was necessary to leak the numbers to Mr Kairouz.
"I saw someone saying on social media that it was a sting. No it wasn't," Mr Hazzard told reporters on Monday.
"It was looking at what the issues were and making sure that the system was such that the information could be kept to the appropriate time." NSW, which counts cases over a 24-hour period to 8pm, releases figures and the context of each case daily at 11am.
Meanwhile, Victoria counts cases up to midnight, releases the figure at 9am and then provides context about midday.
Mr Hazzard said NSW's approach was "entirely appropriate", giving the important message in a way that the public "understands the significance of what we are asking people to do to keep people safe".
Mr Kairouz maintains online he has no source and is predicting the figures mathematically.
In a statement dubbing himself as the "people's premier", he said Monday's official figure was given "solely to discredit my mathematical genius". The statement runs with a disclaimer that it is "for comedic purposes only".