Date published: 
27 August 2020
Media event date: 
26 August 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

ALLISON LANGDON:

More now on that breaking news out of Victoria, 149 new cases and the state recording the second deadliest day of the pandemic with 24 more lives lost. It's a grim figure and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, joins us now from Canberra. So the Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, has confirmed most of these deaths were in aged care. Just terrible numbers, huh?

MICHAEL KIDD:

They are terrible numbers and, of course, each number represents a person who is loved and our thoughts are with their loved ones. Also, this is part of the tragedy of COVID-19 - when we have very high levels of community transmission as we saw a week or two ago in Victoria, two to three weeks later we get people who are dying as a consequence of having been infected at that time.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Are our aged care facilities safer now?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, our aged care [audio skip] are safe. We've seen the extraordinary work by the Victorian Aged Care Response Centres working with the owners of each of the aged care facilities which have had outbreaks or cases across Victoria; we've seen the enhancement of the infection control support and training of the aged care work force; we've seen the increased provision of personal protective equipment, masks and face shields; we've seen a reduction in the ability of people to work across settings so we're reducing the risk of someone transmitting COVID-19 from one setting to another - so yes, our aged care facilities are responding really well. And I just want to say a big thank you to our aged care work force, the people who are working in those facilities each day caring for our loved ones.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Great to see us getting on top of that. Now, we're also hearing reports of the University of Queensland made- making major progress with a vaccine development.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes. This is really, really good news - especially coming out of Australia. We have some of the top vaccine researchers in the world based in our country who are putting their efforts into finding the vaccine for COVID-19, and very encouraging to see these early results coming out from the trials being run by the University of Queensland.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

I noted with interest yesterday, in Hong Kong a man contracted the virus twice - a different strain of the virus - and that sent I think shudders across the world. That being said, insofar as a vaccine being developed is concerned, does that make it all the more difficult if you've got more strains or different strains of the virus?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, so it's not surprising that we're seeing someone who has been infected a second time. We're very early, of course, in the course of this coronavirus. We do know from other coronaviruses, particularly those that cause symptoms of the common cold, that people develop immunity which can then reduce quite rapidly over time and, of course, it's quite variable amongst individuals. So, what it does mean for the vaccine development we still need to see. We know that the strains which are circulating around the world at the moment are only slightly different from each other, so therefore a vaccine may be effective against multiple strains - but we need to see what happens over time.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

By Christmas a vaccine, yeah?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you, Karl.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Just say, yes.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Come on. Great to see you, my man, thank you so much. I wouldn't have entertained that either. I'm just hopeful, fingers crossed.

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