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

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Let's go live now to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd. Professor, good morning to you. Nearly 2000 active cases in Victoria linked to aged care outbreaks. What more can be done for these elderly people once they've got the virus?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, we're very concerned about the outbreaks in each of the residential aged care facilities that we're seeing in Melbourne. The thing which needs to happen above all, is we need to get this level of community transmission way down in Victoria, and, of course, that's what the Stage 4 restrictions are all about in Melbourne at this time.

We have, of course, the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre established two and a half weeks ago to work with each of the residential aged care facilities where we've seen cases of COVID-19 among residents, or among staff; to allow the infection control processes to be put in place; to make sure that everything that can be done is being done to support the residents of those facilities.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. It's been one week since Victoria's very strict lock downs began. Yesterday, there were 410 new cases. What does your modelling show? When do you think those new cases will start to drop significantly?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, we have of course seen a significant drop over the past week from the national high of 747 cases over a week ago. We're now seeing between 300, 400 or so cases in Victoria. It's still too early to be totally confident about what's happening, but the trend is downwards. We, of course, need a couple of weeks before we can be certain that the measures are doing exactly what we hoped they will be doing. But it is absolutely essential that everyone in Victoria is adhering really strictly to those restrictions which are in place.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. Let's look at Sydney; authorities are concerned that coronavirus is quietly spreading through Sydney's west, through carriers who have few or no symptoms. And we're seeing vision this morning of people dancing at a wedding - singing, jumping around all over each other in Sydney's west. How many people could unknowingly have coronavirus in Sydney?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, this is one of the really challenging issues around COVID-19, and that's the fact that we can have people who have no symptoms or very mild symptoms who are still infectious to other people and at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others. This is why, again, it is really important that people in New South Wales are adhering to the measures which are in place and are following the guidance which is there for everybody's protection. We can't afford to have large numbers of unknown cases starting to appear in New South Wales.

Of course, with the cases that we saw yesterday where there was no known link immediately between one of those cases and one of the previously diagnosed cases, the infection control- sorry, the contact tracing people in New South Wales are going all out to make that sure we can establish those links, pick up anyone between the new cases and known cases to make sure everyone's getting isolated and tested and we're bringing the transmission rates down.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

There's no doubt the contact tracers in New South Wales are really great at their jobs, they're doing such an excellent job. But you're the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, when you see this vision of this wedding in Sydney's West - you're working so hard, you've been working hard, you and your team, for so many months to save people from themselves, to trace this, to try and get a handle on this pandemic. What do you think you see people breaking the rules like this?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, it's beyond disappointing. It's really unacceptable that people are not taking this incredibly seriously, because lives are at risk when people take into their own hands, their decisions to breach the rules and regulations which have been put in place to protect us all.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. New Zealand has been shut down again, and they're now investigating whether their recent outbreak was caused by refrigerated freight, perhaps on imported seafood. Are there concerns that could happen here?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, we still need to find out more about this- these cases which have been picked up in New Zealand, and whether it's related to people who have been coming into the country. Of course, just like Australia, New Zealand continues to have people who are bringing in goods and exporting goods, as well as return travellers coming into the country. So, I think it's too early to speculate on the cause of those particular outbreaks that we've seen in New Zealand.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. Professor Michael Kidd, thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate it.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thanks Sam.

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