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

LISA MILLAR:

Now, to Canberra, where the country's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Michael Kidd, joins me this morning. Good morning, Michael. Thanks for coming on ABC News Breakfast. It is a difficult day in Victoria. I've seen some alarming figures and predictions. What would have happened if we hadn't gone into this second lockdown?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, the second lockdown is a totally appropriate response to what we've seen with the significant rise in community transmission across Melbourne and we know this is going to be very tough for the people of Melbourne and the surrounding areas of the city. But I think it is really important that we all remember that we– the things that we learnt the first time we were in lockdown. The importance of remaining socially connected with each other, even while we're physically distant from any of our loved ones.

LISA MILLAR:

Michael, the Premier, yesterday, Dan Andrews said that thousands could die if this lockdown didn't happen. I know you would have done the modelling because it's such a difficult decision for governments and the health experts. So what– to give people an idea, what might have been the other side of the story if these decisions hadn't been taken?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, what we know is that COVID-19 is a very infectious and serious disease. And of course, as we've experienced before, once people who are elderly or people who have serious health conditions start to get infected with COVID-19, we start to see the increase in hospitalisation, the increase in people ending up in intensive care and of course, the very large risk of fatalities continuing to rise. And we have seen over the last few days, the start of the increase in the number of people in hospitals in Melbourne. So it was very important that these measures be taken and this will be protecting, of course, everybody not only in Melbourne, this is a national issue. This will be protecting everybody in Australia.

LISA MILLAR:

Yes. You say a national issue; what kind of message does this send to the rest of Australia?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

I think this has come as a real jolt to everybody in Australia. After the Stage 3 restrictions were lifted the first time, many people felt that COVID-19 perhaps was over in Australia and clearly it is not. It remains a very serious risk for us all and it reinforces for everybody the importance of the measures which the vast majority of us have been adhering to, including the people in Melbourne, over the last 6 months of protecting each other, stopping the spread of COVID-19.

LISA MILLAR:

Everyone's on notice, aren't they?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

I think we're all on notice, absolutely. But again, it's really important that for the people in Melbourne to know they're not on their own here. And for all of us to be reaching out to our friends and our loved ones in Melbourne as they find themselves in isolation.

And for the people in Melbourne to be doing what they did so well the first time around, looking after each other, look after their elderly neighbours, their neighbours who they know may be living on their own. And if people do feel anxious or depressed, please reach out to the helplines – Lifeline, Beyond Blue and the other mental health services. There are people all around the country who are waiting to assist you.

LISA MILLAR:

Got to ask you about schools. Lots of parents will be watching this morning wondering if they need to remain closed, if remote learning is going to be what happens? That's a political decision, of course, but on the health front, what's your recommendations?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, what we're seeing with the schools is that for most students in Victoria, the school holidays have been extended for a week while the Victorian health authorities and the education authorities get their plans in place. And so those plans will be announced to the people of Melbourne over the coming days.

LISA MILLAR:

They're going to have to brace themselves for some more home learning then, perhaps?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, certainly if individual schools are closed or, of course, if children do have symptoms and need to be staying at home, we may well see more home learning occurring for many of our students.

LISA MILLAR:

All right. Michael Kidd, thank you for your time.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you.

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