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

NATALIE BARR:

Parents are being asked to encourage their children to practice social distancing. Up to 40 per cent of new infections have been recorded among 18 to 29-year-olds. Joining me now is Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth. Nick, what message do you need to send to this younger generation?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well, I think we need to get as creative as possible in reaching out to those between 18 and 30. They're a critical part of COVID-19 control, we need to get the basic messages of social distancing. We do need to get the message out there that it's not a good idea to visit multiple venues a night - and it is difficult for parents to do that, it's difficult for Government to do that but we have to get creative now. And keeping in mind that, whilst they might not be as affected severely with COVID-19 there are still people who are young heading into our intensive care units, and it is a risk for anyone to get COVID-19 - both for severe disease and potentially longer term consequences.

NATALIE BARR:

Yeah. Look, I know you're right, I know parents around the country who have kids that age are saying, it's hard, they're just not listening. Should we go the other way and get pubs to put in tighter restrictions, limit the number of people who can go into those venues and make people sit down?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well, I certainly think that every venue has a responsibility to be COVID safe and at the end of the day, that is a marketing tool now in Australian society. If you walk into a pub and it doesn't look COVID safe you should be walking out again. And it really doesn't matter what the promoter or whoever's running that pub is doing, it has to be COVID safe - you can't have lines of people out the front not socially distancing, you've got to manage that as the person in charge of that venue.

NATALIE BARR:

Yep, personal responsibility. Serious concerns about the safety of health workers have been raised with new reports this morning that one in five doctors and nurses has limited, and in some cases no access to face masks. The President of the AMA has told us this morning frontline workers do not feel like they're being protected. Are you concerned by these reports?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well, what I'm concerned about is the 991 active healthcare worker cases that are in Victoria at the moment and my job is to get as much information as we possibly can about those and to assist the Victorian health services in doing so. I will note that that survey was 677 doctors out of a potential group of 25,000 Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians - my college, the one that I belong to - and so that wasn't a particularly large sample. I would fundamentally dispute the fact that one in five doctors and nurses do not have access to personal protective equipment anywhere in Australia at the moment. That's simply not correct.

MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Okay. Dr Nick Coatsworth, we thank you for your time this morning.

NATALIE BARR:

Thank you, Nat.

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