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

ALLISON LANGDON:

Well more now on Victoria's COVID crisis. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd joins us. A very good morning to you, Professor. These Stage 4 restrictions will be in place for 6 weeks as we know. Is that long enough to get on top of it?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, clearly we're going to need to see what happens with the levels of community transmission in Victoria over the coming weeks in response to these new restrictions which came into play last night. Hopefully we'll see a very quick decline in the number of daily infections. We expect that to start occurring within the next two weeks or so. You've got to remember that the infections that we're seeing today are people who've been infected in the last week or so. So it does take a week or two before we will start to see a decline in infections.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

See, Michael, when you use words like hope, I get nervous, because it's like there's some doubt over whether or not the numbers are going to go down. I mean, if Stage 4 doesn't work, what happens?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, what we know from past pandemics, and also from the past experience in other countries which have had significant rises in COVID-19, is that what does work is restricting people's movement and restricting the opportunity for people to come in contact with other people. Now, clearly the restrictions which were announced yesterday by the Premier in Victoria are going to do exactly that, with the curfew, with people being much more staying in their own homes, and with the reduction in people moving around.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Professor, you now have more than 6,000 active cases in Victoria. Those cases are in lockdown with their families. How do they not give it to everyone else in the house?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, that is a really good and important question. So clearly, the first thing is, if you are infected with COVID-19, you are in isolation. You must not leave your home. We have to do everything we can, of course, to prevent transmission within the household as well. So where possible, people should be in their own room and they should be staying in their own room as much as they possibly can. Ideally, they would have their own bathroom, but if they have to share a bathroom with other family members very important that the bathroom is thoroughly cleaned after the person with COVID-19 has finished in there. If they do have to go out into the rest of the house, then they should be wearing a mask, and ideally other people should be wearing a mask, and of course physical distancing will be important within the house as well. But there may be homes where there is someone who is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 –living with elderly relatives or with someone who is immune compromised. Please, if you're diagnosed with COVID-19, when you talk to the health authorities about your isolation, tell them about the circumstances and they will help you to work out what is going to be safest for you and the other people in your home.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

We had an epidemiologist on our program a little earlier about half an hour ago, who said that basically there might be a need for New South Wales to go to level 3, given what's happened in Victoria and the trajectory. Do you think that's necessary at this point?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well clearly, we're following what's happening in New South Wales very, very closely. At the moment, over the last couple of weeks, we haven't seen a continuing upward trend in New South Wales. We've had the number of cases each day, between 10 and 20 cases each day of community transmission, and a magnificent job in picking up the contacts of all those people. Also the people in New South Wales who have been told you've been in one of those restaurants or one of these other venue, you need to isolate at home for two weeks and get tested. People are largely adhering to that advice, and that of course is helping to prevent any further transmission. But you're quite right, we need be following what's happening in New South Wales very closely, and if we do start seeing that upward trend, then consideration is going to need to be taken about further measures.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Is there not merit in getting ahead of it and just saying okay, let's just do 2 weeks of lockdown now so we don't end up into the situation that Victoria's facing of going into 6 weeks of hard lockdown?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, obviously, we follow each day and see what's happening with the figures. There are consequences of course of going into lockdown. You know, we're very concerned of the impact on the mental health and the physical health of the people of Melbourne and now all of Victoria who are in lockdown. We're very concerned about the impact on businesses and the families who are running their own companies if we go into lockdown. So these measures are not taken lightly. As we've seen in Victoria, these are very serious measures with serious consequences. But if they are necessary in order to save many, many lives, then this is what we have to do.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Have you seen the images and the photos and the moving pictures from the Melbourne-Newcastle game at the Sunshine Coast Stadium over the weekend? I mean, the optics of that are pretty bad.

MICHAEL KIDD:

So was this in Queensland?

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Just the crowds. Yeah, the crowds in Queensland at one of the NRL games.

MICHAEL KIDD:

So clearly when we have these sporting events taking place, they're taking place in a controlled environment. So everybody who is there has a ticket so we know everyone who's there. All of those people can be contacted if needed. Everybody has their assigned seats. There's cohorting within the stadiums, so groups of people are not mixing with others. So even though it looks like there may be many people there, it is a much more controlled environment than we may see, for example, if people are crowding into other venues, into supermarkets or other spaces.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Doctor, thank you for your time today, really appreciate it.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you.

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