Date published: 
12 May 2020
Media event date: 
12 May 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

ALLISON LANGDON:

And joining us now from Canberra is Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Alison McMillan. Alison, thanks for your time this morning. You're part of the team in Canberra monitoring this pandemic. We've just heard there are 17 new cases in Victoria, none in New South Wales. Do you have the overall national figures for us?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

Good morning. I can, 9642 cases and, as you say, in the last 24 hours 7 new cases. That's really encouraging to see that lower number today in the last 24 hours.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Okay. Hospitals are facing a shortage of vital drugs needed to keep ventilators running. If there is a second wave of COVID-19, is that not a worry?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

No Karl, it's not a worry. I think that what we've seen is ICUs prepare in a really positive way and we've got the equipment, we've got the drugs and we've got the staff we need, should we see that second wave. So we are well prepared. Obviously that means that we have taken extra supplies of these stocks. Should we need them, we'll be able to get more. But we can be confident that our intensive care system is ready and waiting, but obviously we don't want to see that so we want people to do the right thing.

ALLISON LANGDON:

So, there were reports this morning that 18 per cent of hospitals don't have enough Propofol to fulfil a single day if they're at capacity. Not true?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

That was a very small study, Alli. We are— we've certainly been keeping in contact with all our intensive care units across the country through the states and territories, we believe there is sufficient supply. We'll continue to work with those pharmacy suppliers but we're confident our intensive care system is ready. And always, there are alternative drugs if we need them.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Okay. As the country takes the first steps out of lockdown our elderly are still in incredible danger, aren't they? What does the rest of their year look like?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

Their year looks cautious. I think we've— they need to be cognisant of where they're going and what they're doing, and making sure that they are following all of the things we've asked everyone to do and asking their families to continue to do that. So, life is going to change for all of us for a very long time as we continue to manage this, with particularly with the hygiene requirements.

ALLISON LANGDON:

You know of course, I mean we're all itching to start travelling, even just interstate seems like a bit of a dream. How far off is that? I mean, is there some sort of timeline surrounding domestic travel?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

Look, the restrictions in travel are essentially about the border controls that some of the states and territories have chosen to take. That will continue to be monitored. We're obviously taking one step at a time And while we watch and consider what figures we see as we see people move around, then those states and territories may start to relax those. But that's a little while away yet, we want to be very careful with how we approach this.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

There are fresh privacy concerns with the COVID tracing app over the way data is stored. We know the Opposition are going to raise that today in Parliament. The app is important to helping prevent a second wave. But headlines like that— the questions, while necessary, they don't help, do they?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

They don't, but my job is to reassure the community that obviously this is a voluntary thing to download — we're asking everyone to do that. The data is stored on your phone and it is secure, and there are only 4 pieces of data, and if and when that's required to do contact tracing, then you release that data. So, we all have a lot of control over how our information is used and when it's used, Karl, and so we continue to encourage everyone to download the app.

ALLISON LANGDON:

And Alison, of course we know that today is International Nurses Day — so, thank you. I mean, our nurses have done an incredible job, haven't they, during this emergency? And not just during this emergency, every day. We have a lot to thank them for, don't we?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

We do, we do. We should thank our nurses every day — not just today. Today is a celebration of nurses across the world. And remember a nurse is with you at the beginning and the end of life and everything in between, and for that we offer our great respect and gratitude — and I do that too to all of my colleagues out there this morning.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

They love a party too, don't they, nurses?

ALISON MCMILLAN:

I'm saying nothing, Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

[Laughter] It's the first time in 2 months you've been stumped. Thank you so much for your time. You're doing a terrific job, as are all of the nurses around the country doing. Thank you so much, appreciate it.

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