Date published: 
27 March 2020
Media event date: 
27 March 2020
Media type: 
Statement
Audience: 
General public

ALLISON LANGDON:

So, I guess the question is what more needs to be done to combat the virus and flatten the curve. And Principal Medical Adviser to the Department of Health, Michael Kidd joins us now. Professor Kidd, thank you so much for your time.

Let's just look at yesterday because we saw less cases confirmed than in the previous 24 hours in both Victoria and New South Wales. Is this a sign that our self-isolation and social distancing is working?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you, Ally, and that's a great question and the answer is yes, it's working, but we can't take the level of comfort that I think you're wanting to take from seeing numbers going down slightly over a 24-hour period.

We have to be watching the trend over many weeks. And I think that people having watched that timeline that you've just shown, many people will be feeling very distressed and very anxious and feeling perhaps even a little bit hopeless about what can I do.

But, as you've been re-enforcing with your viewers, there are many things that each of us can doing to play our part in stopping the spread and protecting the people who are most vulnerable in our community.

And they are being very cautious and careful with washing our hands, maintaining the physical distance between ourselves and other people and if you develop symptoms of fever or other respiratory symptoms, you stay at home, you contact your own GP, you contact the health lines from the governments. And if you're told that you're at risk of COVID- 19, you're diagnosed with COVID-19, and you're put in home quarantine — you stay home, you go straight home, you don't go out of your home until you're told that it's safe to do so.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Really quickly Professor, I appreciate you being with us on the show and our audience does as well, very much. When we look at those scenes like we saw at the international airport, and it's not your brief, but when we look at that we just go: hang on a second, we're all doing everything we can. And we know the infection can spread at such an alarming rate in situations exactly like we saw yesterday. Sum it up for us.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, look, I think what we saw yesterday, I know, would have alarmed many people. Of course, people coming into Australia, and many of these people are Australians, of course, returning home to their families and their loved ones, they arrive at the airport, they're feeling very anxious.

It's a very stressful situation for people to be in and people arriving into the country, may not have been receiving the same messages about physical distancing that we've been sharing with the Australian public, through your program and others across the country.

So I think it's really important that our border control authorities and everybody who's working with people coming into the country just gently and calmly advises people: Look, we need to maintain this physical distancing, we know you're stressed, please remain calm and let's all protect each other. Hand out the advice, say here's the advice that's going out to the Australian public. This is something we need to tackle together. Everybody is responsible and together we need to stop the spread.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

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

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