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Deputy CMO praises Victorian healthcare professionals’ COVID response


Paul Hayes


25/11/2020 12:06:02 PM

Michael Kidd called reaching zero active cases ‘a significant and encouraging milestone’, but reminded people to stay vigilant.

Prof Michael Kidd
‘To my peers across Victoria, thank you for your extraordinary work and for going above and beyond,’ Prof Michael Kidd said.

With Victoria recording its second straight day of no coronavirus infections, deaths or active cases on Wednesday 25 November, Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd has praised the state’s healthcare professionals for their work in ending the second wave.
 
‘To my peers across Victoria, thank you for your extraordinary work and for going above and beyond in providing essential services under very challenging circumstances,’ he told newsGP.
 
‘People have been incredibly adept and nimble in changing the models of care delivery in a very rapid period of time. I’ve just been really impressed how people are reaching out to their patients and communities to make sure they’re coping well.’
 
A GP and former RACGP President, Professor Kidd made specific note of the primary care professionals who have run respiratory clinics through the pandemic.
 
‘In particular, thank you to my colleagues running GP-led respiratory clinics in Melbourne and across Victoria,’ he said.
 
‘We know there is increased work being carried out by those clinics and your commitment to providing high-quality healthcare services for the people who trust you is greatly appreciated and admired.’
 
With Victorians enjoying the spoils of their efforts in reducing COVID numbers – including more access to hospitality venues and relaxed mask-wearing requirements – Professor Kidd warned against becoming complacent.
 
‘Having no active cases in Victoria is a significant and encouraging milestone and a huge credit to the people of the state,’ he said.
 
‘We all recognise, though, ongoing vigilance will continue to be essential to keep Australians safe and well.’
 
Professor Kidd’s comments come as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced her state will open its borders to Victoria and all of New South Wales on 1 December.
 
‘I congratulate Daniel Andrews, their Chief Health Officer and all of Victorians because this is just such fantastic news,’ Premier Palaszczuk said.
 
‘So it means on 1 December, Victorians can also come to Queensland and, of course, Queenslanders can go to Victoria as well. So very, very good news.’
 
The Victoria–NSW border also opened this week after having been closed for more than four months.

The NSW Government has also announced easing coronavirus restrictions. From 1 December, up to 50 people will be able to gather at a private residence, though they must be outdoors, and up to 50 people can gather in public spaces. Restaurants, bars and cafes with floor space of up to 200 square metres will be able to apply the two-square-metre rule indoors.
 
Elsewhere, South Australia’s Chief Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier announced the state had recorded no new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. She said, however, two international travellers who tested positive earlier this week have been added to the ongoing Parafield cluster.
 
‘And the reason for that is that we received, in the middle of the day yesterday, the genomic information about those particular cases,’ she said. ‘What this showed was that they had the same strain of COVID as the Parafield cluster.’
 
SA Premier Steven Marshall has also outlined an eight-step plan to overhaul the state’s hotel quarantine program. According to the ABC, the Premier said these are:

  1. We will now transfer all positive COVID cases from medi-hotels to a dedicated health facility.
  2. Security at the dedicated hospital will be provided exclusively by South Australia Police and South Australia protective security officers.
  3. Staff working at the dedicated facility will not be deployed to other medi-hotels or high-risk environments, including aged care facilities, correctional facilities or hospitals.
  4. All staff who are working in the dedicated facility have access to the Hotel for Heroes facility, so that they have the option to rest away from their home.
  5. We will discuss all of these risk-mitigation strategies with the AHPPC [Australian Health Protection Principal Committee] before implementing them, and continue to seek the advice from the AHPPC on secondary employment for medi-hotel staff and other issues.
  6. We will ask National Cabinet to consider testing all returning Australian citizens prior to their flight, with a view that they must have negative test results before boarding.
  7. The medi-hotel in question will be thoroughly deep cleaned.
  8. Once the new actions are implemented, we will be able to gradually resume our international arrivals for returning Australians.
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