Interview with Karl Stefanovic on The Today Show about coronavirus (COVID-19)
Read the transcript of Minister Hunt's interview with Karl Stefanovic on The Today Show about coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
Okay. Let's bring in now, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Greg, thank you for your time this morning.
Good morning, Karl and Ally.
We just heard there, it is a terrible situation that they are experiencing in those towers. You heard that five days mentioned. Do you think that's realistic, that things will open up in five days?
Well, the Premier has set that as their goal. I won't try to pre-empt what the outcome is for those particular residents but I do want to thank them.
Just to hear Mohamed and the hardship and at the same time, the spirit, that sense of Australia, that sense of the great national unprecedented challenge and that he and his family are rising to the occasion.
So I want to thank all of the residents and around Australia say, this is an immensely difficult time. But we have been through this in March and April.
We know how to get through this and we will continue to get through this.
And that’s why we are mobilising federal resources to support Victoria and the border communities, literally as we speak.
Have we lost control of Victoria? It's my understanding there are big numbers again today.
It is a very serious outbreak.
To have the unprecedented closure of the border, not done in a hundred years, that is a sign that we have seven states and territories with effectively zero community transmission.
One state, in particular, the north and the west of Melbourne, with a very serious outbreak.
And so, therefore, our task is to make sure that the hotel quarantine which has helped find well over 400 cases and prevent them coming into Australia is made leak proof in Victoria, to make sure that our testing continues.
Well over 40,000 tests a day, over 20,000 in Victoria, I think over 25,000 yesterday.
The tracing, every case, every day.
That's an absolutely fundamental thing which the nation's pitching in to help with in Victoria and then these difficult distancing measures.
The distancing is absolutely about saving lives.
Any new cases overnight? And what can you tell us?
So we don't have any new numbers this morning.
We're just under 8500 and yesterday, obviously, we had the 127 in Victoria and hotel quarantine cases in other parts of Australia.
The numbers come in from the different states and territories during the course of the morning.
And then there's an update around about midday from each state and territory.
It is my understanding that those numbers are bad again today. In any event, we’ll move on.
If you're in one of those vertical cruise ships, as they’re being called, I mean how do any of those people have any faith in authorities that the spread of this virus, even inside their own towers, is going to be effective?
Well I think it’s absolutely important that we have everyone in those towers tested.
That's about protecting them and their families.
We heard about Mohamed and- from Mohamed about the spirit and the commitment, as difficult as it is.
And I thank the people, whether it’s in the towers or those suburbs that have been locked down with stage three restrictions in Victoria.
But these actions are about saving lives and containing the spread.
Of all the countries in the world, we've done this as well as anybody.
But when there is an outbreak, these are the actions that have to be taken in a global pandemic with a disease which has killed well above 500,000 people and spreading at over 150,000 cases a day.
Is a total lockdown of Victoria out of the question?
At this stage, what we see is that the focus is the north and the west of Melbourne.
I don't think that anybody can rule out that if the disease continues to spread, there could be further restrictions.
I think it’s very important to be open and honest about that. At this stage, again, it appears primarily urban Victoria.
But we actually have to respond to the facts as they occur.
And we've always identified this notion of rings of containment, of isolating the hotspots and then working out from there.
So it's difficult. It's challenging. But ultimately, we know how to address this.
And we're mobilising federal resources - 350 military coming to the border, up to 500 if necessary, 200 in Victoria.
More on stand-by if they need help with their testing and tracing, or their hotel quarantine.
Those rings just keep getting bigger, don’t they? Greg Hunt, thank you for your time today. Appreciate it.