Date published: 
27 May 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

NATALIE BARR:

Amid concerns, the flu season could be worsened by coronavirus, an extra 2 million influenza vaccines are being made available to Australians. That will take the total this year to a record 18 million. For more, I'm joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd. Morning to you. Have more people been lining up for a flu shot this season?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Absolutely Nat. This year we've had record numbers of Australians who've gone to their GP, gone to their local pharmacy to get vaccinated against influenza. And as a consequence, the Government has ordered an additional 2 million flu shots. So if you haven't had your vaccination against influenza yet, there's still time. Please make an appointment with your GP or with your pharmacist and go and get the jab.

NATALIE BARR:

So onto corona, Queensland's latest coronavirus case is from the Ruby Princess. How is that possible when the incubation period is two weeks, but that ship docked in Sydney 10 weeks ago?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, so this new case in Queensland is being investigated by the Queensland health authorities. It may be that this person has been infected by somebody else in the last few weeks, even though they were, we're told, somebody who was on the Ruby Princess. So we've got to wait and see what comes through from that investigation.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. Let's talk about schools. We've got two Sydney students tested positive; we had another one last week that I understand may have been a false positive. How safe are our schools? What do you tell parents?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well our schools are safe and our parents in Australia should still be sending children to school. What we're seeing is what we expected to happen, which is very small outbreaks occurring across the country while COVID-19 is still with us. And what we're also seeing is in place, what we hoped would happen, which is as soon as people develop any symptoms of a respiratory tract infection, they arrange to get tested, they stay home. If they're diagnosed, then immediately the state authorities move in to test people, to follow up with their contacts, to isolate people, close the facility - in this case, the two schools - arrange the thorough cleaning and then we wait for the state health authorities to say it's safe for children to go back to that school. So this is what we expected to happen and things are rolling out that way.

NATALIE BARR:

With more people returning to work, where do you stand on people wearing masks on public transport?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

So that's a very good question. And obviously, the most important thing is the personal responsibility, which we're all taking. So as I just said, if you have any symptoms, you don't go to work, you don't go on public transport, you stay home and get tested. The most important measures to protect each of us from COVID-19 are the measures which we've all been following with hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette and the physical distancing. But if people are on public transport, obviously if the public transport is crowded, we advise you to avoid going into crowds and wait for the next public transport to come along. If that's not possible, then people may make their own choice about wear masks. But we don't recommend mask use because we believe all the other are as important and we don't want people to put on a mask and think they don't have to maintain physical distancing, hygiene and other important measures.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. Professor Kidd, thanks for your time.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Thanks Nat.

Contact

Departmental media enquiries

Contact for members of the media

news [at] health.gov.au (subject: Media%20enquiry%20-%20News%20item%20ID12088, body: URL - https%3A%2F%2Fwww.health.gov.au%2Fnews%2Fdeputy-chief-medical-officer-interview-on-sunrise-on-27-may-2020)

View contact