Topics: COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria, People with symptoms not self-isolating and not self-isolating once they’ve been tested; aged care facility concerns.
Now as we’ve heard, there are some questions to be answered about why so many Victorians have not been self-isolating while they wait for COVID test results.
The impact of their decisions could be felt around the entire country.
For more, we’re joined by the Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Minister, good morning to you.
Victoria, a huge surge there and now spreading throughout Australia. These strains can be traced back to Melbourne. What went wrong?
Clearly, there was a catastrophic breach of hotel quarantine, that’s been acknowledged by the Victorian Premier and he’s called a judicial inquiry. That has spread.
And the second element is to make sure that the contact tracing, the following up of each case, occurs every day.
And we have offered, they’ve now been accepted, and we’ve brought ADF into Victoria at the request and with the consent of the Victorian Government. Fourteen hundred Defence Force personnel on the ground.
So our focus now is to take the action to help protect the Victorian people, to assist with the isolation, to assist with the checkpoints, and above all else to assist with the contact tracing through the work of the ADF, and to make sure that that standard, that’s fundamental of each case, every day is met, given what happened with the hotel quarantine.
Seven out of eight states doing magnificently; one a massive, massive challenge.
Exactly. Why do you think people, particularly in Victoria, are not getting the message about self-isolating once they get tested?
If they’re showing the symptoms, they’ve done the right thing, gone off and had a test, and then while they wait for the test results in Victoria, over 50 per cent of them have gone shopping, they’ve gone to see their families, they’ve gone to the pub, and this is spreading like wildfire.
Why are people not getting the message?
So my message to Victorians and to all Australians is – if you are being tested, please self-isolate.
If you have the symptoms, isolate.
Call ahead, go for the test, do so in a way that’s safe, return home.
They’re the critical things that if you are in that risk space, you can inadvertently spread the disease to your mother, or your father, your grandparents if you are not self-isolating.
This is absolutely important.
Each one of us can help save a life or inadvertently, risk a life.
And we’re at that moment in our history where our individual actions are perhaps more important than ever.
Keeping the distance, practicing the cough etiquette, wearing the mask, but above all else, keeping your space and being at home if you have the symptoms or if you have been tested and you’re waiting for a result.
I know overnight, you – the Federal Government – has stepped in and taken over the management of one aged care home in Melbourne. Will you do that with more aged care homes?
There seems to be a real crisis in aged care and too many numbers there.
Where there is a case that we don’t believe that the management is able to deal with a situation, then we will step in.
The instructions to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner are very, very clear: do not hesitate, do not wait.
If you do not have confidence that the residents are absolutely safe, please take action, and that’s what Janet Anderson has done.
And we will continue to take all steps, as difficult as they are, sometimes they’ll be controversial – to protect the lives of these beautiful older Australians.
Absolutely. Okay. Health Minister Greg Hunt, no doubt we’ll talk about all of this again tomorrow.
But thanks for your time today.