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

PAUL KENNEDY:

First, let's get a national overview from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd, who joins me now from Canberra. Michael Kidd, thanks for joining us on News Breakfast. Firstly, can I take you to New South Wales. What concerns you most about this outbreak at the hotel?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, clearly, the outbreak that we're seeing at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula is causing a lot of concern, and the numbers of people linked to that outbreak, I believe, has increased overnight. Very important that people adhere to the public health messages. Anyone who attended that hotel between the 3rd and the 10th July is being advised to isolate at home for 14 days and to arrange to get tested. Very important that we act very vigorously in responding to this outbreak.

PAUL KENNEDY:

What's the number gone to now?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

We'll have to wait and hear from the New South Wales authorities later this morning.

PAUL KENNEDY:

Okay. And I note 1  of our reporters saying this morning that as a flow on to that, a gym has been locked down and they're cleaning, they're doing all the rest of it. So that's a big gap, isn't it? Seven days of people moving around and not understanding what may have happened.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes. So, as we say, very important that anyone who was connected with that hotel does lockdown. Of course, part of the concern is that this hotel is used by freight drivers who are transporting essential supplies across the country. So this is a really important issue for everyone across the country.

PAUL KENNEDY:

Is that something that's really worrying you at the moment? Those truckies that pass through the state lines, closed borders, aren't necessarily being checked and given tests, are they?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

They're not being tested, but it is really important that the people who are carrying out these and other essential services for the Australian public do adhere to all of the measures as we talked about before.

PAUL KENNEDY:

Okay. Let's move down to Victoria. What does it say about this virus in the second wave that so many health workers are testing positive? What does it say about the virus and our system?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, clearly the virus is incredibly contagious and transfers very quickly from person to person. Many of the health care worker cases or the cases linked to health care settings appear to have been transmitted through community transmission, so within households and outside of the health care settings. But it is essential that anyone who works in health care settings, if they have symptoms, no matter how mild, stays at home, does not go to work, arranges to get tested.

PAUL KENNEDY:

Has it surprised you that so many health workers are testing positive in Victoria given all that we know, and this being the second time around and taking the best care possible?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, people are obviously doing the very best that they can, and we support our health care workers in Victoria who are obviously providing essential services to the people there. But as I say, this is a highly infectious virus. Everybody needs to be doing their part.

PAUL KENNEDY:

Yeah. I interviewed the Education Minister earlier on the program, Dan Tehan, and asked him whether or not he knew the number of children and teachers who have now tested positive after catching coronavirus or getting coronavirus at school. I was surprised he didn't know that. Are those education ministers not being told these numbers?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, I don't know what advice is being provided, but clearly what we're seeing today is the return to school for the Year 11 and Year 12 students, and very important for those students if they do have symptoms, they stay at home, don't go to school. And when they do go to school, go straight to school, at the end of the day, straight home again, not mixing with friends and social environments.

PAUL KENNEDY:

There's a really big outbreak at a college called Al-Taqwa in Victoria. Mr Sutton, your colleague in Victoria, has talked about high levels of transmission between students, those senior students that are going back to school today, 17, 18-year-olds, like adults. Is that your information? Is that how it is being passed around?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

I don't know the details for the Al-Taqwa case. My understanding is that many of the cases were linked to students who were parts of families and family outbreaks. But it is really important for the Year 11 and 12 students that they behave responsibly. That they maintain their physical distancing whenever they can, that they're very rigorous about their hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette, and also that the teachers in the schools are protecting themselves as well.

PAUL KENNEDY:

It's tricky, isn't it? Just 1 final 1 on that. Because those 17 and 18-year-olds, that age group there, is the 1 likely to perhaps take more risks and think they're bulletproof?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, but we're not. We're all at risk of COVID-19, and of course, if we get infected then the risk is also there for our family members. So the message is the same for everybody. Do your part. Stop the spread.

PAUL KENNEDY:

Michael Kidd, thanks very much for the update.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you.

 

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