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

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Well, as Victoria marks one week into Stage 4 restrictions a leading epidemiologist in Melbourne has told the Today Show she believes the shutdown is working.

[Excerpt]

CATHERINE BENNETT:

We've seen behind the numbers, the trend for the- not only the curve to have flattened but to have started to turn down. But we are seeing the daily numbers and that's really reassuring.

[End of excerpt]

ALLISON LANGDON:

But with the daily death toll hitting a new high yesterday there are fears the lockdown could last well into the New Year. Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, joins us now. Very good morning to you. Twenty-one deaths again yesterday, but is there reason to be optimistic?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, yes, I think that we can be optimistic. We've seen the total number of new cases continue to decline over the past week since the Stage 4 restrictions were introduced in Melbourne, Stage 3 restrictions right across Victoria. But it's still early in the process, I think we've got to wait and see what happens over the coming week just to make sure that that downward slope continues over the days ahead. Very sadly though of course, as you have mentioned, we've seen the consequence of the very high numbers that we had a week or so ago now start to reveal itself with the increasing number of people losing their lives to COVID-19.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

What should we expect, Professor, out of our aged care facilities in the next days and weeks?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you. Sorry, Karl, can you say it again?

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Just in relation on our aged care facilities, what should we expect out of there?

MICHAEL KIDD:

So certainly what we are hoping to see with aged care facilities is, as the level of community transmission declines in Victoria, that we see also a decline in new cases occurring in residential aged care facilities - both amongst residents and amongst staff. The tragedy of the very high levels of community transmission that we've seen over the last few weeks in Victoria is that it leads to these cases that we are seeing in aged care.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Your thoughts on residents in aged care being sedated?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, the decisions about what happens with each resident obviously is a decision for their treating doctor working with the resident and with the family members. So this is obviously a clinical decision which needs to be made on a case-by-case basis.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Okay. There's a lot of debate around at the moment about the Army not being brought in to help with hotel quarantine. I know it's difficult for you to comment, but in hindsight was that a grave error?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, we have seen the defence forces and the police forces being activity involved in hotel quarantine measures in other States and Territories and we've seen the consequences of that. I think it's not appropriate though to comment specifically on Victoria with the judicial review underway.

ALLISON LANGDON:

The people of New South Wales have been handed an ultimatum by the Premier - wear a mask for face restrictions. Is it time for the State to get tough?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, I think the State is getting tough and we have seen the measures being announced by the Premier continue to escalate over the last couple of weeks, as we've seen that continuing low level of community transmission running across New South Wales - particularly in Sydney, but also in areas outside Sydney as well. I think it's very wise that people, particularly in the hotspots, are wearing a mask when they leave their homes and particularly in those circumstances. As we've said before, where you cannot maintain physical distancing, or particularly if you're a person who is vulnerable to COVID-19.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

On the topics of borders Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham, has been very strong this morning, saying state lines should remain closed for one more day than needed otherwise there are going to be financial repercussions for them. Do you reckon there is a time line? In fact, is there any reason why those borders would be still closed?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, clearly while we have such high levels of community transmission occurring in Victoria it is sensible that we are restricting the movement of people from areas of community transmission to the rest of the country. Because we know if we allow that to happen, we are going to see community transmission appearing in other parts of the country.

ALLISON LANGDON:

So does it make any sense then for there to be border restrictions been WA, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well as I continue to say, the decisions about border restrictions or border closures are decisions for each of the jurisdictions.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Come on.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Does it make any medical sense?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, the medical sense is we have seen cases, of course, occurring in Queensland. We've seen cases occurring in South Australia where people have been moving across the borders from New South Wales or from Victoria. And of course each time that happens, each time we have community transmission occurring in another state, we have the risk of an outbreak occurring and that needs to be jumped on very, very quickly.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Professor, basically what we're just trying to ask you is can we just go into Queensland for a little holiday? No one's going to look.

MICHAEL KIDD:

No.

ALLISON LANGDON:

That's what got the state in trouble.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Thank you, Professor. Appreciate it.

Contact

Departmental media enquiries

Contact for members of the media

news [at] health.gov.au (subject: Media%20enquiry%20-%20News%20item%20ID14062, body: URL - https%3A%2F%2Fwww.health.gov.au%2Fnews%2Fdeputy-chief-medical-officer-interview-on-channel-9-today-show-on-13-august-2020)

View contact