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

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Well, we now have the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd. Professor, thank you for your time again on whatever TV people are watching at home. Enforcing the quarantine, is it a job for cabin crew?

MICHAEL KIDD:

So, I understand that there may be some of the pilots and flight attendants from airlines involved in some of the quarantine - obviously, this will be a decision by the Government in Victoria. I have to say that the people who work on our airlines are, of course, people who have been trained in safety. And for those who've been working on the repatriation flights, bringing Australians back over the past few months, have been very trained in infection control.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Wouldn't you feel more comfortable though if the military was in charge?

MICHAEL KIDD:

The Defence Forces and the Defence Force personnel who have been involved, particularly in Victoria, over the last couple of weeks are particularly health care workers, and obviously health care workers are very trained in infection control.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

For how long did you know that there were breaches in those hotels?

MICHAEL KIDD:

How long did the AHPPC?

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Yes.

MICHAEL KIDD:

I think that we knew probably when the people of Victoria knew, when we started getting reports of cases, being linked to people who were working in the two hotels there in Melbourne.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Okay. And what were your thoughts on how it was being handled at the time?

MICHAEL KIDD:

So clearly the authorities in Victoria were moving in and were working with the people in those hotels, and we fully support the actions of the health authorities in Victoria.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Okay. So the cabin crew, who are now going to be in charge of the security at these hotels, what sort of training are they going on to go? Because as I said, we know that they do an amazing job at what they do but how are you going to ensure that they stay safe?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well clearly, that's an issue for the health authorities in Victoria so we'll need to ask the people in Victoria what training and supervision is going to happen for the cabin crew who will be involved. But, whatever support they require from the Commonwealth we'll be ready and willing to provide.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

They've been likened to these tower buildings, to vertical cruise ships. If the virus is present inside those buildings it could spread in the same way there, couldn't it? And then how much more difficult is it to contain?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes. I think, I think that's a really important issue. So, the people who are living in in the tower blocks - and clearly we're very concerned for the people there who have suddenly found themselves in this very frightening situation - they'll be in their apartments, they'll be in their homes so the risk of transmission between residents is going to be very low but it's going to be absolutely essential that the people who are providing them with support are absolutely scrupulous in their own infection control measures to make sure that we're not seeing further transmission occurring amongst the residents. The residents of course themselves, include many people who are vulnerable and at increased risk if they were to be infected with COVID-19 - so, everybody needs to be protected.

ALLISON LANGDON:

I mean from the outside looking in; It appears that the whole thing is being mismanaged. You got those inside who are very upset, they're very uncertain as to what's happening. You've got the Police Association complaining that they weren't given enough training to facilitate all of this. Are you concerned with how this operation is being run?

MICHAEL KIDD:

We're dealing with a pandemic; we're dealing with a highly infectious disease; we're dealing with a disease which can be lethal in many of the people who are infected and so, measures do need to be taken very swiftly and quickly; and, people do need to be provided with the support that they need, but that needs to happen very quickly. The Commonwealth has provided, as well as the Defence Forces, over 800 personnel to assist with the response in Victoria and as have many of the other states and territories. So, this is a national issue, this is a national emergency and everybody needs to be involved in supporting those people and supporting the people who are providing care and support to the residents of those tower blocks at this time.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Quickly, given the incubation and given the nature of this virus is five days long enough to stop the spread?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Five days will allow for testing to take place among the residents of the tower blocks and to get the results back, to see who is infected and who is not.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

All right. Appreciate your time as always. Thank you.

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