Date published: 
13 August 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Michael Kidd, joins us from Canberra. Michael, a very good morning to you.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Good morning, Michael.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Firstly, I want to ask you, are you heartened by this fall in the rolling average of cases in Melbourne?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes. Look, it is still very early, we're only a week into the Stage 4 restrictions but we have seen a continuing decline from the very high levels of daily cases that we saw a week ago. And obviously we need to watch what happens over the coming week to make sure that that decline that we're seeing continues, and continues to fall and then hopefully will continue to fall over the coming month.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Okay. So, we've seen over the last few days the figures in Melbourne or Victoria being in the mid-300s, yesterday just above 400. Looking forward to a week, where would you like to see the daily infection rate in Victoria?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, it's too early to speculate exactly where the figures will go in a week or so, but what we do know is that we have to get the rate of community transmission down in Victoria and that has to happen as quickly as possible. And of course that is what the measures for the Stage 4 restrictions are designed to do, but it also relies on everybody in Melbourne and in Victoria doing their part as well.

MICHAEL ROWLAND

Okay. We are also reporting this morning of the disappointing news in New South Wales, in Sydney in particular, where people aren't following the rules. Photographs of people in a pub sitting very closely together with no masks - Gladys Berejiklian is getting increasingly frustrated about this. What is it going to take, Michael Kidd, to get the message across?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, I think we're all sharing that level of frustration; with the Premier in New South Wales and people have to be taking this seriously. People only have to look across the border into Victoria to see what happens when people don't adhere to the physical distancing restrictions and just don't follow what they're supposed to be doing. So please; everyone in New South Wales, look at the figures which are happening. At the moment we are still seeing this level of community transmission occurring in New South Wales, at any time that could dramatically increase and then we could have in New South Wales the same sort of consequences that we're seeing in Victoria. We have to all be doing everything we can to prevent that from taking place.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:

And on that front everybody, or most people are doing the right thing in the hopes, certainly in Melbourne and Victoria those restrictions are eased over the next couple of months. But we look across the Tasman to New Zealand and see those new community transmissions after more than 100 days without any. How concerning is that about how this virus is continuing to, I guess, evolve?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, as we know we are living in a world where COVID-19 is running out of control in many countries. And even though our borders are closed we still of course do have people coming into Australia - both people returning to the country and people who are bringing in essential goods and taking our exports to other parts of the world. So we are still at risk of having COVID-19 appearing in places where we think we have no community transmission. So, we are going to have to remain vigilant for a considerable time to come to make sure that we don't get continuing outbreaks, or where we do get outbreaks that we're able to move in very swiftly and bring those under control.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:

And finally, lots of talk in the last couple of days, I guess as there have been for months, about a vaccine, various projects are at various stages. Realistically, what's your - and it's only a guess at this stage - what's your bet on where things could be on the vaccine front over the next 12 months?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, it is promising seeing the results that we're seeing. We are seeing early results of vaccines which appear to be producing an appropriate response in the trial subjects. And of course the- further measures need to be taking place to make sure the vaccines are going to be safe and are going to be able to be administered to large numbers of people all around the world. It's still a very difficult area to predict exactly when we're going to see a vaccine for COVID-19 but we do have some of the world's greatest research minds working on this challenge, including amazing researchers here in Australia.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Let's not forget, we are world leaders in the research field. Michael Kidd, thank you so much for joining us on News Breakfast.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thanks, Michael.

 

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