Date published: 
18 November 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW:

South Australians have rushed to testing stations in record numbers as Adelaide's COVID cluster grows. There are currently 20 confirmed cases linked to the Parafield cluster, another 14 people are suspected are of having the virus and 4000 close contacts are now in quarantine. The initial source has been traced to an overseas traveller. While there are alerts for nearly a dozen new venues across Adelaide this morning and the South Australian Premier has warned the state is not out of the woods. For more, I’m joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd. Good morning to you, Professor. There are fears we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg here. Lots of people in South Australia really worried about this. Is the risk factor on the rise?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, at the moment, what we’re seeing is an incredibly rigorous response from the authorities in South Australia and thank you to everybody in Adelaide who has been queueing up yesterday and who’ll be queueing up today to get tested. All those people who have been to the venues which have been identified as places where possible transmission may have been at risk of occurring. But what we are seeing, as I said, is a very vigorous response and we need to obviously watch and see what happens over the next couple of days as all of these test results come back in.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW:

The 20 cases to date are either showing no symptoms or are only mildly symptomatic. Is that a concern perhaps a good thing, in that people aren't being as badly impacted by the virus? But they are only testing the workers in quarantine every seven days so it does allow for a big window there.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, it’s not unusual that large numbers of people who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. This is the pattern. But unfortunately, as we know, some people can become very gravely unwell with COVID-19. So it’s absolutely essential that we are stopping the spread of the virus in Adelaide and obviously all that can be done and should be done, is happening right at the moment.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW:

Professor, given that hotel quarantine has been such an issue, is there an argument just to have quarantine in one state? Potentially, the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well as you know, we’ve had a recent review, a national review of hotel quarantine by Professor Jane Halton, which has reviewed the practices in each of the states and territories across the country. There is only limited capacity in each state and territory with the number of people that can be safely managed in hotel quarantine at any one time. And of course, as we saw when Melbourne closed down and stopped its quarantine admissions that put pressure on other parts of the country. So I don’t think it’s feasible if we’re going to still allow large numbers of Australians to return home just to do that in one state or territory.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW:

Alright. Professor Michael Kidd, thank you for your time this morning.

 

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