Date published: 
13 May 2020
Media event date: 
13 May 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

NATALIE BARR:

Also, breaking this morning: Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has returned a negative coronavirus test result following a coughing fit in Parliament. He was delivering a speech revealing the pandemic's enormous impact on the Federal Budget when the coughing fit struck.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

[Coughs] Sorry. [Coughs] Lucky I've got some water.

NATALIE BARR:

He took to Twitter this morning, saying he was tested out of an abundance of caution on the advice of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and this morning received a negative result. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd joins us now from Canberra. Michael, good morning to you. Would his test have been rushed through or do results usually come back overnight?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Usually the results come back very quickly from people who are having tests conducted. So, it sounds like this was a normal test and carried out as we'd expect.

NATALIE BARR:

So he did the right thing, going into isolation like he did overnight?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Absolutely. Anybody who has symptoms which could be an indication of COVID-19 should go into isolation and should arranged to be tested. So, thank you to the Treasurer for setting an example for everybody in the country.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. As coronavirus restrictions are eased around Australia, what's the likelihood we will see this second wave that people are talking about?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, we're doing everything possible to prevent a second wave from occurring in Australia and everybody in Australia needs to continue to play their part, as people have been doing so well over the last couple of months. And at the same time, we have our increased testing capacity, our increased ability to contact people who may have been in contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19. And then when we do get any outbreaks, we have the ability to move very swiftly to isolate and quarantine people and to arrange testing of any contacts.

NATALIE BARR:

Can you get tested if you have no symptoms? I had a kid going to camp last week and the school wanted everyone to get tested and the doctor said: no, you can't get tested if you have no symptoms. Is that right?

MICHAEL KIDD:

So it depends on the testing facility. There are some facilities around the country which are doing what we call random tests on people who are asymptomatic and don't have any symptoms of COVID-19; and then there are other clinical settings, particularly the fever clinics, which have been set up in many of the states and territories, the general practice respiratory clinics, where only people who have possible symptoms are being tested.

NATALIE BARR:

Is there any point in testing everybody to see who's got it out there because we have lots of tests, don't we?

MICHAEL KIDD:

We have done many, many tests. We've done over 860,000 tests in Australia to date, which is one of the highest testing rates per head of population in the world. Is there a- I'm not sure if you're asking if we test all 25 million people?

NATALIE BARR:

If there any point in - yeah testing - do we just start testing a lot more people, even if you haven't got symptoms?

MICHAEL KIDD:

So, what we're doing is called surveillance. And so we are doing increased testing, particularly of people working in settings where they may be increased risks to vulnerable people. So, increased testing of healthcare workers, increased testing of people who may be working in residential aged care facilities and other settings where we're very conscious of making sure that we are protecting those who are vulnerable.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. Thank you very much, Michael Kidd.

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