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

MADELEINE MORRIS:

For the latest we're joined now from Canberra by 1 of the Deputy Chief Medical Officers, Michael Kidd. Professor Kidd, good to speak to you as always and thank you for your time. We have awoken this morning to the news that the PM and the Premier of Victoria had some– what's been described as crisis talks overnight about potentially expanding restrictions in Victoria. Can I ask, are you advising, in your capacity, that there needs to be tighter restrictions in Victoria?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, certainly the number of new cases that we saw yesterday was quite alarming. And of course, it does have to be looked at in the context of the figures over the past couple of weeks and the trend that we're seeing which, of course, is an increase in numbers despite the restrictions which have been in place.

It is now only a week since the requirement that everybody wear a mask in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire was introduced, but still the numbers have been going up. Yesterday the AHPPC met and talked about possible recommendations for additional measures, and as you've said, the Prime Minister and the Premier have had further discussions overnight.

MADELEINE MORRIS:

Okay. So, you've talked about it. Can I ask what those additional measures might be and how close you are to recommending them?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

So, clearly, the decisions about what measures will be introduced or won't be introduced is a decision of the Victorian Government. We provided advice looking at what's worked well both in Australia, elsewhere in the country and earlier in the pandemic, and also what's been working well in countries overseas, and provided recommendations based on that evidence.

MADELEINE MORRIS:

And, look, I can– I know that you don't want to undercut your bosses and sort of take the decision away from them, but it would be really helpful if we were able to get some sort of indication about what might be coming down the line. Can you give us any sort of help or indication of what that might be?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, look, as I've said, that is a decision for the Victorian Government.

MADELEINE MORRIS:

Okay, okay. Talking about masks, we're looking now at some of this coming out in commercial settings, so Woolworths, for example, is now asking people in Sydney and in some parts of Queensland to wear masks. In Victoria, it's now going to be all of Victoria is required to wear a mask from the weekend. Do you think that people across Australia should seriously be considering masks now?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, absolutely. So, what we've said is where we have, particularly community transmission and particularly when people are outside their homes and in areas where physical distancing may be difficult – and that, of course, includes when you go into the supermarket where there's lots of people moving around and people may come closer to you than the 1.5 metres – that people should be considering wearing masks. And particularly, people who are at increased risk if they were to be infected with COVID-19.

We do, of course, currently have the Government requirements right across Victoria, but we do have community transmission occurring in parts of New South Wales, particularly in suburbs in Sydney. And as we've seen, we've had community transmission just yesterday reported in suburbs in Brisbane. So, yes, I think people should be considering wearing masks, but particularly in those areas where we have community transmission.

MADELEINE MORRIS:

In aged care, we have seen the disaster that is aged care in Victoria. Now, one of the concerns here is that there wasn't enough PPE, and there wasn't enough training and there wasn't enough support and preventive measures put in to stop it getting out of hand in aged care homes. Is– are other measures being taken in other states now to prevent what has happened in Victoria happening elsewhere?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, I think that's a really good question. And it's really important that we learn from the experience of what happens in every single outbreak of COVID-19 occurring in Australia. And particularly the outbreaks occurring in such critical areas as residential aged care facilities, and that we apply those learnings as we go along with other settings as well.

Each residential aged care facility in Australia is required, as every business in Australia is required, to have its own COVID safe plan to determine what that business is doing to mitigate the risk to their staff and also to their customers. In this case, of course, the residents of aged care facilities and the family members, the visitors, who come into those facilities as well.

And that, as you've said, includes the provision of appropriate protective equipment where that's necessary, and also the education of the staff and of other people coming in. And in residential aged care, the other measures – making sure that people are being quizzed before they come into a facility about whether they have any symptoms or a fever. Many centres using temperature checks when people come in. Many centres requiring that their PPE be used by visiting staff coming in, visiting family members and others.

MADELEINE MORRIS:

Okay. Professor Michael Kidd, we'll have to leave it there. Thank you very much for that.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you.

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