Date published: 
11 June 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

MICHAEL ROWLAND:

Let's get the latest on coronavirus across Australia. New South Wales, like most other states, has now gone 2 weeks without a case of community transmission.

LISA MILLAR:

So does this mean we don't have to worry as much about a second wave? Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd joins us now from Canberra. Good morning, Michael. Thank you once again for coming on the show. We do appreciate it. Just, you know, we have been talking about the OECD report this morning and the economic worries if there's a second wave. Is the second wave still the biggest challenge? And how do we know if we're diminishing our chances of seeing one?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes, clearly we continue to be concerned that we may get a resurgence or the so-called second wave of infections occurring in Australia, as we have seen in a number of other countries which appear to have COVID-19 well under control. Fortunately in Australia, we have put in place very successful measures to prevent that sort of resurgence, with the very large number of tests which continue to take place in Australia; well over 1.6 million tests have been carried out so far. Very effective system of contact-tracing in each of the states and territories when we do get someone newly diagnosed with COVID-19. And the capacity that we have whenever we do get outbreaks, and we do expect to continue to get small outbreaks occurring over the days and weeks ahead, our capacity to move in very quickly and isolate and quarantine people, test people and make sure that we don't get further community transmission occurring.

So we're doing all we can to prevent that resurgence or second wave from occurring. Obviously, this is something which we all need to continue to play our part as we have been over the last few months, and we have to remain vigilant and we can't become complacent at this time. We're still living with this deadly virus.

LISA MILLAR:

Yeah, Michael, I just want to let viewers know as well, the Prime Minister has been on 2GB in Sydney this morning and he was talking about the double standard of protesters last weekend, offending Australians across the country. That's not for you to worry about, I realise, but he also said the protests are the only real blocker to further relaxations of restrictions. Is that the case? Are we waiting to see what happens from the protests?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, clearly with the protests, what we saw was very large numbers of people coming together, and as we saw from the media reports, in many cases, people had difficulty maintaining physical distancing from other people, and if we had had a person or a number of people with COVID-19 amongst those crowds, then there would have been the risk of significant transmission. Now, we still don't know if that has occurred or not because, of course, the incubation period for COVID-19 is 5 to 7 days, up to 14 days. So we will only start seeing new cases occurring if that transmission had occurred on the weekend over the days ahead. So, yes, we're continuing to be very cautious, and obviously we need to see what happens over the next few days.

LISA MILLAR:

So we need to see whether there are any cases coming from that protest before we see further relaxation of restrictions?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Yes. And the good news is that we have had very low levels of community transmission occurring in Australia. Over the last week, we've had 43 new cases diagnosed and two-thirds- sorry, three-quarters of those have been in people who've come into Australia from overseas and who'd been in quarantine. So only a very small number of people with community transmission. Obviously with each of those cases, we're concerned and the state authorities are moving very quickly to trace the contacts of those people.

LISA MILLAR:

And the- we've seen in New Zealand, they've lifted all restrictions, lots of talk about travel bubbles today with Greece and all the rest of it. What are your thoughts on that?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, I think that many Australians and many New Zealanders would like to see the border open between our two countries. And New Zealand, like Australia, has been very successful in controlling COVID-19, and I think that we're moving towards a position where we can be very confident of opening the border between the two. But obviously, that's a decision for the governments of both the countries, the level of comfort that they have and we'll see what happens over the weeks ahead.

LISA MILLAR:

Yeah, we certainly will. Michael Kidd, thank you very much for joining us.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thank you.

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