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

ALLISON LANGDON:

Let's go back to the coronavirus battle now. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor, Michael Kidd, joins us. Thank you for your time, Professor. Of the 3000 people who were meant to self-isolate in Victoria, 800 of them when checked weren't home - so that's nearly a third. We've now seen tougher fines introduced. Do you think that will work?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, I certainly hope so. It's absolutely inexcusable that someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and told to be in isolation is leaving their homes. People must stay at home for the duration of their isolation period, this obviously is to protect the health and well-being of everybody in the community.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Victoria Premier, Dan Andrews, has floated the prospect of a Stage 5 lockdown. I think the other day we said that there was no Stage 5 as well, and there was no possibility. I mean, what happens if this doesn't work? Do you allow yourself to think and plan for that?

MICHAEL KIDD:   

ell look, obviously we very, very much hope that this is going to work. And what we're doing, and what we're seeing happening in Victoria is based on the world's best evidence about responding to pandemics, about bringing outbreaks like this under control. And what we know is that what works is by keeping people in their homes, keeping people away from other people, and preventing the transmission from one community member to another. Clearly the restrictions which are in place now, there'll be very people with an excuse to be leaving their homes and to be moving around the city - that's only for the essential workers. What we hope to see over the next two weeks is the figures that we're currently seeing start to decline, and hopefully decline quite rapidly.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Professor, we've got a few debates happening in New South Wales at the moment - one, of course, is whether or not masks should be mandatory, and the other is there are calls for anyone coming in from Victoria to face mandatory hotel quarantine. What are your thoughts on both of these issues?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, certainly we've been very strong in saying that masks are recommended where we're seeing community transmission. And at the moment, particularly in Sydney, we are seeing community transmission continuing - only small numbers between 10 and 20 being reported each day. But we have had over the last few days some cases which have not been able to be connected to other outbreaks, which means there may have been other people who've been infected and have not known they've been infected. So yes, we are recommending people wear masks, particularly in those circumstances where you're not going to be able to maintain physical distancing. And it's not hard to wear a mask. Just keep one in your pocket, when you leave your home, pop it on, make sure you're keeping yourself and your family safe, and then when you get home you can take it back off again.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

And chatting to Nick yesterday on this program, he mentioned to us those magical figures - magical not in a good way - but the incidence of transmission in the community hitting a certain point where you have to bring in tighter restrictions. I mean, when you look at what Dan Andrews on Instagram showed us last night - he was looking at the Stage 4 restrictions, and it was very powerful these images that we saw. Then you skip forward to, say for example, Queensland now where we know also that they've had a couple of incidents, I think it was zero in terms of community transmission. If that changes, does Queensland need to act really quickly in terms of the way they respond with restrictions?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, we're dealing with a pandemic and things can be unpredictable, and so we have to be following very closely exactly what's happening with new cases. Clearly, the response which we have right across the country of widespread testing, of very rigorous contact tracing so we understand exactly how transmissions are occurring, and then putting people into isolation who've been exposed or who've been infected with COVID-19. So every outbreak needs to be looked at in its own context, and the response needs to be in response to what's actually happening on the ground. So it's hard to put in a blanket measure for what may or may not happen in Queensland or in New South Wales over the coming days.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

OK, it doesn't look good though, does it?

ALLISON LANGDON:

No, it doesn't. Professor, thank you for your time this morning. We appreciate it.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Thank you.

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