Date published: 
15 April 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

DAVID KOCH:

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, joins me now from Canberra. Professor, thanks for your time again. There have also been more cases linked to an Anglicare aged care facility in western Sydney overnight. Do you think we'll be able to manage these, sort of clusters it looks like, of viruses over winter?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, what we're seeing is our public health officials in each of the states and territories are acting very swiftly and very effectively when these outbreaks occur. But as we heard earlier from Doctor Kerry Chant, the really important issue here is if people develop any symptoms at all no matter how mild - whether just a little bit of a sniffle or a little bit of scratchiness in the throat - that you don't go to work, that you stay home, that you contact your GP or the Healthdirect number, and you arrange to get tested.

And I think that what we're seeing at the moment is some of the symptoms are just so mild that people don't think that they could possibly have COVID-19 - and of course, tragically, that's not the case.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah. So, this is a real change in thinking from a couple of weeks ago was- where we were told, hey, unless you've got three or four symptoms, don't go and burden the health system, don't get tested, you've probably just got a cold. But now what you're saying is, hey, we need to do more testing. If you have a bit of a runny nose, don't be brave and go to work, go and get tested?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Absolutely, and that's absolutely critical. Got to remember, three or four weeks ago was a different time. At that time most of our cases were linked to people coming into Australia from overseas or from the cruise ships, now we're seeing some cases of community transmission occurring. The other change is that three or four weeks ago we had, as part of a global shortage in testing kits, and so, the test kits that we had were being used very sparingly on the cases where it was most likely we were going to see positive diagnoses. But now that we've got a few more testing kits - and I have to say, a reduction in the number of other viral respiratory illnesses that we're seeing as a consequence of the measures that we've had with people staying at home and staying away from each other.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah. And washing our hands all the time, we've never been more hygienic, have we?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Absolutely.

DAVID KOCH:

And just quickly before you go-

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

[Interrupts] we’ve probably never been healthier.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah. World Health Organization, reports of some COVID-19 patients testing positive after recovering from the virus, so can you get it again?

PROFESSOR MICHAEL KIDD:

Well, we're still to understand, or start to understand a lot of things about this virus. And you've got to remember that we've only been sharing our planet with this virus for the last three or four months. Fortunately, some of the greatest minds in health and medical research around the world, and particularly here in Australia, are starting to unravel the puzzles that surround this virus. And so yes, there have been some reports from South Korea that possibly people are being found to have traces of the virus again. Whether this means they've been reinfected or not though, we don't know, so we've still got more research to do.

DAVID KOCH:

A bit early. Thanks for your time, Michael, as usual. And a really important message to get out today, sort of, even if you have a scratchy throat or a runny nose, go and get tested - unlike a couple of weeks ago, where you were told not to.

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