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

DAVID KOCH:

Well, as Melbourne businesses prepare to close for the next 6 weeks, health authorities are confident the tough lockdown restrictions will help drive the coronavirus case numbers down. For more, I'm joined by Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth. Nick, good to see you. Transmission still dangerously high. How soon will we start to see a difference in those numbers?

DR NICK COATSWORTH:

Kochie, the transmission numbers persistently and stubbornly high. But what it means is that the Stage 3 restrictions put that basic reproductive number at about 1; so 1 case, 1  person was infecting on average 1 other. You can see from that that getting these Stage 4 restrictions, with those images of Bourke Street and Collins Street having nobody there, that movement restriction is going to work, it's going to drop numbers.

How quickly that happens, it's really– we have to wait for the next week or so to see that. But we're encouraged, because we didn't have that much further to go to start seeing the numbers tip down. It's just that the strain that that was putting on the Victorian health care system and the public health unit required those Stage 4 restrictions.

DAVID KOCH:

Speaking of that strain, say on contact tracing, are there enough resources in Victoria?

DR NICK COATSWORTH: 

The resources in Victoria of contact tracing are immense, Kochie. And that means that even with 600, 700 cases a day, every person getting diagnosed is getting contacted on that day, and if they're not, they get the ADF going around to just knock on their door and make sure they're aware of the diagnosis. That's the most important thing.

Now in terms of tightening up everything we possibly can, it's about shortening any testing delays, it's about making sure those contact tracing interviews are done as quickly as possible. Every single aspect of that process is under the microscope to make sure that we lock down those chains of transmission and get the numbers under control.

DAVID KOCH:

All the other states are quite rightly paranoid about a similar thing happening with them. South Australia overnight is implementing measures like, if you're in a bar, you've got to be seated. New South Wales with face masks. Are they good things to put in place and is there a responsibility on us to actually put in those common sense measures for our own lifestyle?

DR NICK COATSWORTH:

I think we all have to be part of this, Kochie. What– one thing that COVID-19 has proven to us is that no single government, no health official can do this with even a single policy; it's a whole community response. We've all got to look at these things, we've got to look at what our government suggests, and we've got to do them. And then we've got to make sure we get tested and keep our hygiene excellent.

But those measures that are being put in place in South Australia are because we understand how the virus spreads; we know it spreads within bars, pubs, clubs, we know it spreads within households, so we decrease the number of people in households. So, this is an early response to controlling any virus spread in South Australia.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. So, in New South Wales and Queensland, if we see– it's a beautiful Sunday and there are a heap of people in an outdoor pub and there are just too many numbers, we have to say to ourselves, hey, we'll give this one a skip and go somewhere else?

DR NICK COATSWORTH:

That's what I would do, Kochie. I mean, if it doesn't look safe, it probably isn't. And whilst those premises do have COVID safe plans, take a look – if it's crowded, just go somewhere else or stay outside and enjoy the sun.

DAVID KOCH:

Yep. We can all do something about this. Nick, good to see you. Thank you.

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