Date published: 
11 September 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

NATALIE BARR:

Joining me now is Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd. Good morning to you. Look, Queensland is maintaining there should be no exemptions for people coming from COVID-19 hotspots. Does that make sense from a medical point of view? Can there be safe exemptions for people attending funerals?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, this is one of the very cruel tragedies of COVID-19, Nat. The separation of families at times of grief and heartache, clearly, at the same time, measures are in place to protect everybody in the community from COVID-19. Again, one of the tragedies that we've seen throughout the pandemic is that funerals can be one of those events where we can get very rapid spread of COVID-19 and of course, that can often lead to further, very tragic consequences.

NATALIE BARR:

Yes. But she came from Canberra whether or not cases. Are you saying you support Annastacia Palaszczuk's decision here?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well the decision obviously is a decision by the Queensland Government. The Queensland Government has determined that the hotspot in New South Wales includes the ACT, even though there have been no cases detected in the ACT for quite some weeks now. This is one of the reasons why the National Cabinet last Friday has asked the AHPPC to re-examine this whole issue of hotspots and to look at what we can do to help open up the country further.

NATALIE BARR:

So you're saying from a medical point of view, you agree with this decision?

MICHAEL KIDD:

This is a decision, as I say, for the Queensland Government.

NATALIE BARR:

Yup. So you support it?

MICHAEL KIDD:

This is a decision for the Queensland Government, Nat.

NATALIE BARR:

Yeah. What's your medical opinion on that?

MICHAEL KIDD:

I'm representing the Australian Government.

NATALIE BARR:

Yeah. And what does the Australian Government think?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, as I say, well you've heard what the Prime Minister has had to say about this issue earlier.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. Look, four children - four Sydney kids - we've been hearing this right around the country who are now allowed to visit their dying father in Queensland, will have to wear this full PPE to see him despite getting a COVID test beforehand. The youngest, just seven years old. Is full PPE necessary here in this case?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, again, very, very difficult circumstances. These children are coming from an area of significant community transmission. So there is the potential risk that they may be infected by COVID-19. And therefore, while they go through the quarantine period, that recommendation is that they are wearing PPE when they're seeing their dad.

NATALIE BARR:

We've heard the Chief Health Officer of Queensland say that the border decisions are made sometimes because Queensland needs the money from VIPs and celebrities. As the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of this country, do you think that's appropriate?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, that's not an issue which has been discussed by the AHPPC. I think that's an issue again for the Queensland Government to determine.

NATALIE BARR:

But when you hear that, we're sitting in the middle of a pandemic and you're the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of this country, do you have a say on that? Do you have a view? Because a lot of people were very shocked to hear that when they heard her say that yesterday in Queensland.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes. No. I'm sure that many people were very shocked to hear that. Look, we are dealing with a deadly disease. Of course the public health measures which are in place, are in place to protect and support the health and wellbeing of all people.

It is really important, of course, that in our decision making, that compassion is part of the decision-making because we are, of course, dealing with human lives. But as I said, right at the start, part of the cruel tragedy of this pandemic is that it does have these impacts on families and loved ones at terrible times of personal tragedy.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. Michael Kidd, we thank you for your time this morning.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thanks, Nat.

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