Date published: 
24 June 2020
Media event date: 
23 June 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

WALEED ALY:

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd joins us now from Canberra. Michael, do we need a rethink here or are we just seeing a blip we expected?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

This is exactly what we expected. We expected to see outbreaks occurring of infections across the country as we continue to live with COVID-19. The national response has been very much targeted around testing, then following up the contacts of people who test positive and moving in very quickly to isolate or quarantine people when this is necessary. And this is what we're seeing happen in Victoria at present. It's concerning, obviously, every time we get an outbreak occurring in Australia, but it's not unexpected.

WALEED ALY:

So Victoria has reintroduced some restrictions. I also note a prominent epidemiologist from the University of Melbourne has recommended that Victoria go to an 8-week lockdown and then deal with it after that. Is there a case for that?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

I think it is probably too early to go to that sort of action. I think that what is happening at the moment is totally appropriate. The health authorities in Victoria have been very vigorous in their response. There's been a marked increase in testing, and especially in the local government areas where the outbreaks have been identified. The contact tracers are doing a fantastic job identifying people who have been in contact with those people who have been diagnosed. And of course, we expect to get further positive cases coming out of that contact tracing and the isolation methods which have been put in place with people staying in their homes for the duration of the time that they're infected is in place, as well.

PETER HELLIAR:

Michael, harsh words there from New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. I mean it looks like the National Cabinet cracks are starting to appear, she's dropped Dan Andrews like a hot potato. Should the rest of the country avoid Victorians?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well the advice from the AHPPC is for people in the 6 identified local government areas to stay in those areas and not to travel. I think that everybody needs to make up their own mind about any travelling which they're doing. I think it's really important that we all continue to follow very closely the outbreaks and then we can make an informed decision.

PETER HELLIAR:

So reading between the lines, you think it is an over-reaction?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

I think everybody needs to make up their own mind about what they think they feel comfortable doing.

WALEED ALY:

That's the politest yes I've heard I reckon.

CARRIE BICKMORE:

Don't put words in his mouth. Michael, I do feel a little bit like it's gone from this, we're all in this together, to almost a bit state versus state happening everywhere at the moment. Is what's happened in Victoria just unlucky and could happen in another state or is it a case of certain states and the way we've approached it mean this is what we're seeing?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, you're right, there is a degree of luck, good luck or bad luck in what happens in a pandemic. We've expected outbreaks to occur and to continue to occur while COVID-19 is existing around the world. And so what's happening in Victoria this week could be happening in another part of Australia in a few weeks or months from today.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Professor, I'm an Adelaide Crows supporter and I think that this outbreak could be catastrophic and I don't know, can you please maybe tell us that we call off the whole AFL season?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, not something within my power.

CARRIE BICKMORE:

Is that because you're sucking at the moment?

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Okay Carrie, you don't have to bring that up. Hey guys—

PETER HELLIAR:

[Interrupts] Fitzy, the social distancing doesn't have to happen within games mate, that's Adelaide's problem.

RYAN FITZGERALD:

Guys, don't talk to me. You're from Victoria, I can't associate with any of you.

CARRIE BICKMORE:

Michael, you're always insightful. Thank you so much. Thanks for guarding us through this.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you all.

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