Date published: 
2 July 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

MICHAEL KIDD:

Good Afternoon everybody. My name is Professor Michael Kidd, Deputy Chief Medical Officer here at the Department of Health in Canberra. This is the update as of 12 noon today. We've passed another milestone with over 8000 people in Australia diagnosed with COVID-19 – to be exact, 8001 and people. Tragically, 104 people have lost their lives to COVID-19. 86 people have been diagnosed as new cases of COVID-19 in Australia over the past 24 hours with no additional deaths. This has included one case that's been reported in the Northern Territory, eight cases of COVID-19 have been reported among people in New South Wales, all overseas acquired and all among people who are currently in hotel quarantine. And there have been 77 people in Victoria reported as being diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours. There are 24 people in hospital across the country with COVID-19, and five people are in intensive care. Yesterday there were 18 people in hospital and three in intensive care.

So, we are seeing a rise in the number of people in hospital and in intensive care. This is a stark reminder of the very serious impact that COVID-19 can have, especially on the health of elderly people and people with significant chronic health problems. There have been over 2.56 million tests conducted across Australia, and this includes over 20,000 tests carried out yesterday in Victoria as part of the continuing testing blitz, which has been happening in Victoria in response to the increase in community transmission.

As of just before midnight last night, the Victorian Government has reinstated stage 3 stay-at-home restrictions for the 10 postcodes linked to the major Melbourne outbreaks of COVID-19. This affects over 300,000 people. For people living in those areas there are only 4 reasons to leave home, this is for work or school, to provide or seek care, including medical care and advice, to exercise, or to shop for food and medicines and other essentials. We remain very concerned about the outbreak in Victoria and the continuing cases of community transmission. We support fully the widespread testing that is taking place in Victoria and the extensive contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed to people infected with COVID-19. We encourage everyone who was approached by the people who are conducting the testing in Melbourne that if you are asked to have a test, please do so. It is imperative that we pick up all cases of COVID-19 if we are to stop community transmission from occurring. We recognise that some people may be infected with COVID-19 and have no symptoms or have just very mild symptoms. And if you have even the mildest of symptoms of a cough, cold, flu, fever, please arrange to get tested and stay at home until you are told that your test result is negative and you can return to your daily life.

The Commonwealth welcomes and supports all the actions being taken by the Victorian Government. The action is in line with the nationally agreed approach of test, trace, and isolate. Right from the outset of this national response to the pandemic, we advise that we expected outbreaks to occur that we would need to continue to test, to trace, and, if necessary, to have further lockdowns occur.

I'd like to finish by expressing concern for the people living in the hot spot areas which are now back in lockdown for the next four weeks. We know this is a very worrying and challenging time for you all. The response in Victoria is a response that is not just protecting the health of you and your loved ones, but is protecting the entire population of Melbourne and Victoria and the entire population of Australia. I know that many people finding themselves back in lockdown today will be feeling anxious and fearful, many may be angry and frustrated, and many may be feeling somewhat despondent. It may help to recall that we all came to understand and the things we came to value during the first period of being in lockdown, the importance of staying connected with each other, even while we are physically distanced. There are many challenges of going back into lockdown, but we have experienced this before. We have established our own ways to cope. So please remember the things that you learned the first time we were in lockdown. In addition to staying connected with your friends and your loved ones, please try to adopt a daily routine that provides you with some sense of control over your life, and remember to do the things at home that you enjoy. All of Australia is following and supporting you at this time.

A reminder about the mental health services available through Beyond Blue, Lifeline, and other wonderful services, there are people available for you to talk to right now. And, please, also reach out your local general practitioner if you are feeling distressed and depressed, if you need assistance. And, of course, Telehealth is available to you now, as it was during the initial period of lock down. If you are in isolation and feeling anxious or distressed, please reach out for support. If you have medical symptoms that need attention, please make sure that you receive the care that you need to have. And please, continue to look after your neighbours, just as we did during the previous period, especially those who are elderly and those who you know are living on their own. Nobody should feel that they are on their own at this time. Thank you to the people in Victoria who're doing such a wonderful job supporting the people in lockdown at this time. Thank you all very much. I'm happy to take any questions.

QUESTION:

Hi. Thanks very much. Jade at ABC here. Just wanted to ask you, how concerning is it that we've seen that rise in people in hospital and also in the number of people in intensive care?

MICHAEL KIDD:

So – thank you for the question – as I said, this is very concerning, and it is a reminder to all of us about how serious COVID-19 can be, especially for older people, especially for people who are immune compromised or people with serious chronic medical conditions. This is why we need to be so vigilant in our response to COVID-19 to prevent continuing hospitalisations, people getting very, very unwell. Any further questions?

QUESTION:

Do you have concerns about the case in Sydney? The man who spent a time in hotel quarantine in Victoria and has now tested positive.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you. So, we're still waiting for further details from the health authorities in New South Wales, who obviously are investigating that case very closely. We do understand that this is someone who was diagnosed as COVID-19 while in hotel quarantine who then went through the required period of being in isolation before being allowed to leave hotel quarantine, but we've had a report that this person may have had either a resurgence of symptoms or continuation of symptoms. We need to wait and hear further from the New South Wales health authorities. Any further questions on the phone?

QUESTION:

Overall, how would you assess the hotel quarantine in measures that have been in place in Victoria?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you. So, the question is, how do we assess the hotel quarantine measures that have been in place in Victoria and across Australia? Hotel quarantine, of course, has been one of the key points in the response of Australia to COVID-19, and it has been incredibly effective. We've seen over 60,000 Australians who have been able to return home during the pandemic to their families who've been through the 2 weeks of hotel quarantine. And this has included over 20,000 people in Victoria, so the response has been very effective. We understand from the reports from the Premier in Victoria that there appear to have been some breaches in a couple of the hotels, and this, of course, now is subject to a judicial review, and that is a totally appropriate response. Thank you, everyone, and thank you to our interpreters. Thank you.

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