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

DAVID KOCH:

Coronavirus cases on the Diamond Princess have escalated. Sixty-six more passengers have now tested positive, including four Australians, taking the total number of unwell travellers to 136. Those with the illness are being treated in a hospital as the ship remains anchored off Japan. The thousands of remaining passengers are entering their sixth day of lockdown on the boat.

For the latest, we're joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly. Paul, good to catch up again. Let's start with the Aussies diagnosed on the Diamond Princess. Do you know how they're doing?

PROFESSOR PAUL KELLY:

Good morning Kochie. Yes, as you said, there's 11 more cases of Australians with the virus on this cruise ship. It just demonstrates how infectious this is and why we're taking the issue of isolation of people that may be infected with the virus so seriously.

DAVID KOCH:

Now, equipment has arrived on Christmas Island which will allow for testing to be done on site. How often are those there in quarantine being tested?

PROFESSOR PAUL KELLY:

So people are only being tested if they show symptoms of the virus. There is someone who has developed symptoms that could be coronavirus, but this is really a precaution. We don't believe that this person actually specifically has coronavirus. Tests have been taken and flown to the mainland.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. And some of those people on Christmas Island are preparing to actually go home as well, as they've been through the quarantine. Look, I wanted to show you this map that's come out from a bunch of researchers in the UK overnight, tracking the travel of 5 million residents apparently in Wuhan before the city was put into lockdown. Now, you look at this map, and you know, you'd think it was the end of the world. Is it true that there have only been two deaths from coronavirus outside China?

PROFESSOR PAUL KELLY:

That's right. When you look at the data, the latest data overnight, over 40,000 confirmed cases now. Most of those have been in China. Only about 10 per cent outside of China and when you look at deaths actually, most of the deaths have been in Hubei province, not even in the rest of China, let alone outside. Only two cases so far. So it demonstrates a couple of things: that this is certainly the epicentre of the- of this virus, it's where it started and I think most of the severe cases have been found, probably unlike the rest of China and other parts in the world, the more minor cases, the less serious cases, perhaps not being seen in Hubei.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. It puts it in- puts it in a bit of perspective. The current ban on non-Australia residents coming here from China expires on Saturday. Would you be recommending to the Government that they extend that ban?

PROFESSOR PAUL KELLY:

Well, we're certainly putting together advice to Cabinet but that will be a decision of Government and that will be announced later in the week.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. So what are you going to recommend?

PROFESSOR PAUL KELLY:

Well, we're certainly watching the situation in China and elsewhere very closely and we'll be giving that advice from the medical point of view and then government will of course weigh up what the- what that advice should lead to in terms of actions.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay, alright, thank you for joining us Paul, appreciate it.

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