Oct 22, 2020
Dan Andrews October 22 COVID-19 Press Conference
Premier of Victoria Dan Andrews held an October 22 press conference with coronavirus updates. Read the full transcript of the news conference here.
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Daniel Andrews: (00:04)
Everybody right to go? There are 100 active cases of coronavirus in Victoria with just one new case since yesterday’s update. Today’s case is a parent from the East Preston Islamic school. Currently, no contact has been established between this new case and the current northern metro outbreak. However, investigations are underway with the school and family to fully explore any possible links. Asymptomatic testing will now be offered to all members of the East Preston Islamic school community to ensure any possible links and cases are identified. Jeroen will speak to that in just a few moments. Some individuals in the school community may also be identified as close contacts. These specific individuals will be called directly by the department, and there’ll be absolute clarity about what they need to do and for what period.
Daniel Andrews: (01:04)
There are eight Victorians in hospital, and none of those eight are receiving intensive care, a total of 3,022,364 test results have been received since the beginning of the year. That’s 19,428 since yesterday. That’s a very, very strong testing number, and we thank each and every one of those close to 20,000 people for coming forward and getting tested. There’s nothing more important. If you’ve got symptoms, you’ve got to get tested and you’ve got to get tested fast. That’s how we pull this thing up. That’s how we stop you inadvertently giving it to others who then in turn infect other people. And we finish up with just from one single case, many, many people finishing up with this virus. So thank you. Thank you sincerely to all of those people who have come forward and got tested. That remains so, so important and will be important for many months to come.
Daniel Andrews: (01:58)
There are seven healthcare workers who are active cases. The rolling average to 22 October is metro 5.5, regional Victoria, just 0.3. Mystery cases to the 20th of October are 10 in metro Melbourne, and none in regional Victoria. I’ve already spoken about the one case today being from Darebin. There are now just two active cases in regional Victoria. That’s down by one. And those two of course are the balance of the three who were in Shepparton. So there are just two cases, and they’re both from the greater Shepparton area. There are now just five active cases linked to aged care settings.
Daniel Andrews: (02:39)
And that is all the numbers that I needed to go through today other than just to say, we are very well-placed to make some significant announcements on Sunday, and they will be a testament to the absolute determination of the Victorian community to see this thing off, to do it properly, and to make sure that we got the numbers to such a low level that we have every reason to expect that we can keep them low, fixing the health problem, and then moving on to deal with the important economic and very personal challenges that this pandemic has made clear.
Daniel Andrews: (03:11)
This is a good number. This is a very clear sign that the strategy is working and that we are well-placed to be able to have more to say about a program to steadily open up those safe and steady steps towards that COVID normal summer or COVID normal Christmas and a 2021 that is vastly different to 2020. I might now just ask Jeroen to speak to some of that testing activity and the northern outbreak activity. And then we’re happy to take any questions you have. And I think you’re all aware that I’ve got to get off to National Cabinet, so we’ll try and keep things as focused as we can.
Thank you, Premier, and good morning. Yesterday is 19,428 tests, I think was a very strong number. And we’re so grateful to all those Victorians who came out to get tested yesterday, across our entire state. And please, we need to see more of that over the coming days. I’m pleased that just for the reference back to Shepparton that we have now well worked through our day 11 testing, our follow-up testing from the outbreak a couple of weeks ago. And we’ve seen no positive cases as yet in Shepparton. So the two old cases that are now close to finishing, and the day 11 testing is so far looking very positive. And my thanks to everybody in Shepparton for their outstanding efforts in not only getting tested, but also in clearly a strong sign of excellent behaviors in the Shepparton area where we have three positive cases in their midst, but no onward community transmission. That’s a really solid and confidence inspiring move, and we’re very grateful to the excellent behavior we’ve seen there.
Over the last few days, we’ve seen about six and a half thousand tests undertaken across our northern suburbs. And I’d like to thank everybody who’s come out in the last two or three days, in particular in the northern suburbs to come out and get tested. We need to see more people coming forward today and over the next few days to make sure we really have run these cases to ground. Included in those six and a half thousand tests where 86 tests that we conducted yesterday and the day before at a community housing block in Broadmeadows. I’m pleased to confirm that all those tests were negative. We have found no other positive cases at the Broadmeadows community housing block. As such, the advisory notice that we issued the day before yesterday has now been lifted and all those residents are able to travel as freely as the rest of us are, in line with the current restrictions.
I would, of course, urge all residents, not only of the housing block in Broadmeadows, but generally speaking across northern Melbourne especially, please monitor yourself very closely for symptoms. Please, if you have any concerns at all, come forward to get tested. We will maintain testing station at the Broadmeadows community housing location for the next few days, and the ongoing local support teams will be there to deal with any local inquiries. But I’m very pleased to thank those people for the sterling work they did over the last couple of days. They came out to get tested, all those results are negative, and they can now return to some form of normality.
In terms of the [inaudible 00:06:22] case the premier has mentioned, we have detected a new positive case, a parent who has a child at the East Preston Islamic College. I’d like to thank again the entire school community of East Preston Islamic College for their fantastic work in being so supportive in working with us to test as many people as possible. There are currently 83 families associated with the college who are in isolation, and we thank them for their efforts to ensure that we get through this period as quickly as possible. And there are, of course, followup conversations happening with them around the testing of themselves and their wider families. We are working closely and continue to work closely with that school community. And I would urge any family who has a child at East Preston College to please come forward for testing today.
Regardless of whether you have symptoms or not, we are keen to ensure that we’ve really run this to ground as quickly as possible. And the fact we now have two positive cases in the broader school community, and although they are not linked at this point, we are keen to ensure there are no other traces anywhere else in that wider community. So we would ask, it’s a big area, we know there are families from all across the northern half of Melbourne who attend that school, there are many testing stations across the northern suburbs, we would ask you, please today, come and get tested asymptomatically and we will follow you through very quickly. As a result of the ongoing contact tracing and of course we have the new positive case that will in turn generate more close contacts and more secondary contacts, at this point in time, we continue to have around 400 people who are secondary contacts of the cases at the East Preston College.
We also have an additional 390 secondary contacts of the ongoing work spread across quite a large number of suburbs in the northern area. That makes around 800 people who we are currently asking to self-isolate as we continue to work through this outbreak. What we saw yesterday at Broadmeadows and what we’ve seen at Shepparton, and what we’ve seen at Kilmore, is the importance of going wide quickly, of testing as many people as possible and then trying to focus in on any remaining cases that we have. That will be our approach, continue to be our approach over the next few days. And we’re very grateful to the 800 people that we’re asking a lot of to isolate, but it is really what we need you to do at this time to make sure that we can run this as far as to ground and make sure there are no other remaining areas of community transmission.
And, finally, we’ve had detected in our sewage surveillance program, which we’ve discussed a number of times, there are now 42 sewage surveillance sites all across Victoria, the sewage surveillance site at Ararat detected some traces of coronavirus on Tuesday. As a result, we have set up an additional pop-up testing site at Ararat today. It’s at the East Grampians Health Service on Girdlestone Street in Ararat. That’ll be open from 9:30 today. It’s open now, it’ll be open all through the holiday weekend. We would urge anybody in the Ararat area who has any symptoms, no matter how slight, please come forward to get tested at that pop-up station. We clearly have some activity happening in the Ararat area. We’re very keen to identify whether this is an old case or whether this is a new case that’s developing.
So as we’ve seen a number of times at Apollo Bay and Anglesea, we’ve seen a great community response from these kinds of traces, or these indicators, these early warning signs that there might be something afoot. We’d like to make sure that we run this one to ground as quickly as we did in those other two localities.
Speaker 1: (10:02)
Were there actual cases found in those other localities?
No, we tested around 15% of the population in both Anglesea and in Apollo Bay. We in the end did not find a definitive case of coronavirus. But this is what the surveillance testing identifies for us is, it’s a warning sign that says that either somebody has traveled through the area who has been shedding the virus, it may be an old case in the community, it may be somebody who has come back from another part of the state, but it may be a new case. And at this point, it’s a reminder to us that we are not free of this virus. We continue to have this exposure to all of our communities, and it’s important that we listen to these early warning signs. So again, for citizens and for fellow Victorians in Ararat, please come forward today and we will ensure to get you tested and to run this one to ground.
Speaker 2: (10:54)
Just on the northern metropolitan outbreak. I’ve been told that local employers in those suburbs, in the northern metropolitan area, are requiring their employees to show proof of a negative test to come back to work. Is that a government requirement, or is that something that small businesses doing on their own? I guess what advice do you have on that matter?
Yeah, there is not and there should never be a requirement for people to show negative test results in order to turn up at work. We have a very clear program of asking people who we believe to be primary contacts or secondary contacts to isolate and to be kept away for 14 days. They are not able to work, and that is why we have the $450 payments. That is why we provide the wider relief support to people who are either positives or who are close contacts to ensure they’ve got the means to do so. Anybody who is not a primary, secondary contact does not need to isolate, does not need to quarantine, and therefore they should be free to work. And there is no requirement for them to show evidence of testing.
Speaker 2: (11:53)
Can the premiere just add to that, maybe, just in terms of employers, Premier, a message from the government?
Daniel Andrews: (11:59)
So, no, I haven’t heard those reports, but ultimately the only thing that matters is that no one-
Daniel Andrews: (12:03)
… No, I haven’t heard those reports, but ultimately, the only thing that matters is that no one, no one, who has symptoms should be going to work. And, anyone who’s asked to isolate at home, to spend time away from others in their home, they should comply with the request that’s made of them. So, they shouldn’t be going to work.
Daniel Andrews: (12:17)
The other point, as well, if you’ve gone to get a test, because you were either asked to get a test, or you had symptoms and you volunteered to get a test, and then you have to wait until you get your results in something like 96, 97% of test results are now coming back the day that you have the test taken, or certainly within 24 hours, that’s nearly all of them. Many are coming back only within just a few hours.
Daniel Andrews: (12:39)
So, the message is that, individual workplaces have got COVID safe plans. Those plans are a partnership between the boss, the workers, and customers. Everyone has to play their part, and the best thing that people can do is to make sure that if you’ve got symptoms, you don’t go to work. If you’re asked to stay at home for a period of time, then you have to do that. You can’t go to work. Beyond that though, there’s no requirement to be walking around with a negative test in your pocket, because that’s only a point in time anyway. That’s only a point in time that’ll tell you that, at that moment in time, you didn’t have it. It’s not a passport. It’s not effectively a vaccine against this, that’s got any utility beyond a very short period of time thereafter. [crosstalk 00:13:20]
Speaker 3: (13:23)
[crosstalk 00:13:23] The parent who’s tested positive, it might be one for Jerone…
Daniel Andrews: (13:25)
Speaker 3: (13:26)
The parent who’s tested positive at school. If that parent attends school, does their child have any contact with the positive [inaudible 00:13:35]?
Daniel Andrews: (13:32)
No. It doesn’t look like-
Speaker 3: (13:34)
And, how long has the investigation been active into that parent’s movements? Is that fresh last night, or is that pretty advanced?
Daniel Andrews: (13:41)
Well, both, in some respects. It’ll be well-advanced, because we don’t waste any time on this, but we would be investigating quite rigorously that person’s contacts once they’ve got a positive test. But, the advice I have is that they were not. Their child did not come into contact with the other positive case, and that person had not been to the school. There’s no link. That’s why it’s a little bit uncertain and we have to, as Jerone said, try and run that to ground. There’s obviously some virus in that local community, and that can be a common feature, but it may not be causal, it may not be a link as such. As soon as we can update on that, of course we will-
Speaker 3: (14:26)
Sorry. Is that a sign that there’s more at the school? Does that concern you and indicate that it is spreading in the school? [crosstalk 00:14:31] place?
Daniel Andrews: (14:32)
It certainly doesn’t confirm that, but that’s why we’re going to test everybody at the school, whether they’ve got symptoms or not. So, that’s why the messaging and we’ll be working with the school, have been since, well, for a couple of days now, but we’re certainly working with the school today, to encourage everybody in that school community to come forward and get tested. [crosstalk 00:14:50] Sorry?
So, that parent wasn’t among those in the school community who had been asked to [crosstalk 00:14:57]?
Daniel Andrews: (14:57)
I’m not certain what category that parent was in.
Speaker 4: (14:59)
Daniel Andrews: (15:00)
Well, because they had not any contact with the person who’s tested positive.
And the 800 people who’ve been told to us [inaudible 00:03:09], is it a request to isolate, or is it an order to isolate?
Daniel Andrews: (15:12)
I’ll let Jerone speak to that.
So, just to pick up the new positive case, it’s a parent who lives in Preston. One of their children attends the East Preston College. There is, at this point, no obvious association between that positive case and the positive student that we discussed yesterday. Obviously, that contact tracing’s going on. We had a very positive discussion with a new positive case last night, and we’ll continue those conversations, to try and assess where the case came from. Lundy, in terms of your question?
Yeah. The 800 people, is it a request to isolate or is it an order to isolate?
No. So, if we go back to how we now approach these kinds of outbreaks, so we’ve identified primary contacts. Primary contacts are required to isolate and they will be tested. We’ll be contacting them directly. We have contacted them directly, and we will be testing them, and that work is ongoing. Their secondary contacts are also required to isolate. Generally, that tends to be the household, people living in the household, as is the case of the 83 or so close contacts we have at East Preston College. Their families, around 400 people in total, are being required to isolate. We have 390 additional, secondary contacts from other close contacts that we’re working through in this wider outbreak.
Speaker 4: (16:36)
Jerone, how confident are you that those 800 people will isolate over this long weekend?
So, we’ve had really exceptional feedback from both the initial conversations we’ve had with the secondary contacts. We’ve also spoken to a number of leaders across a number of different communities, across Melbourne in the last couple of days. Again, their support has been fantastic, we saw it on the streets yesterday. So, we’re very confident that people understand how important it is, that when you’re asked and when you’re required to isolate, that you do just that. There is a huge program of food relief and wider support we’re making available to these families, in terms of medicines and anything else that people need to discharge. We’ll continue to work with them to do that, and we’re very confident that they’ll do the right thing and help us get to the bottom of this. [crosstalk 00:17:19] Yep.
Speaker 5: (17:22)
Just regarding the student that went to school with the virus, is there a clear channel of communication between the department of education and the department of health, so the department of education knows that students are quarantining and should not be at school?
Yeah. So, we have strengthened those arrangements over the last 48 hours. So, we now have an arrangement, whether occupant is in the very small number of close contacts we now have in Victoria, the very small number of active cases, 100 active cases. For those cases where they are students, there is now communication between the education department and the schools concerned, to identify any students who are positive and any students who are close contacts. [crosstalk 00:18:05]
Speaker 5: (18:05)
Why wasn’t that in place previously?
Well, because we’re dealing in a situation now where the number of cases we’re dealing with are relatively low. We still have, as we have here, hundreds of close contacts of those 100 active cases. It is still a large field of people across the wider state. We’re now at a point where we can manage those individual cases far more closely, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. [crosstalk 00:18:25]
Speaker 5: (18:26)
Are the schools aware that there are students attending the school that are quarantining?
They will be now.
Speaker 5: (18:33)
Why weren’t they previously given… I mean, we’re sort of well into this?
Well, bear in mind that, for the majority of the outbreak, we’ve actually had the students working from home or studying from home, so the dynamic of our school life has changed significantly. We’re now down to managing these remaining active cases and these remaining close contacts, and we have to be on guard for that. The schools have been exceptionally collaborative on this basis. The school networks are very strong in this regard. This is another safeguard whereby, in addition to the contact that the DHHS has with individual parents and individual close contact and individual positive cases, the case management we already do, we’re now extending that into the school leadership, and that’s a positive way forward. [crosstalk 00:19:12]
Speaker 6: (19:12)
Why has it taken in a case in the school for the department to strengthen its ties with DET or improve those sorts of things or strengthen the arrangements? Why has it taken so long for the department to do it?
Well, because we’ve seen over the whole of this experience of the last three or four months, this whole second wave, we’ve seen the vast majority of people who are being required to isolate or required to quarantine, have done just that. And, we’ve seen that in all the outbreaks we’ve discussed over the last few months. The level of adherence has been excellent. We’ve seen now, clearly, a misunderstanding that’s led to a close contact child, not positive at that point, but a close contact child attending a school. That’s allowed us to take another step forward to say, we now need to tie together with those school leadership. You can’t do that when you’ve got thousands of close contacts across the state. We’re-
Speaker 6: (20:02)
[inaudible 00:20:02] individual case… Sorry, Jerone. Is there an individual caseworker from the department working with the school on this and, say, from DHS, with the school on this?
Speaker 6: (20:11)
It’s down to that level?
It’s at the level where we’ve got dedicated contacts with our colleagues in the education department, working with those schools are very mild. At the moment, we are dealing with a very small number of schools. We have a very low number of active cases in Victoria. We have a relatively small number of close contacts. So, we are working now, individually, with those schools that are relevant and those discussions are ongoing. And again, the DHS case management teams are working, not only with those 100 active cases, but also with those, in this case, 800 or so primary and secondary close contacts.
Speaker 7: (20:44)
Those 800 people, will they be subject to spot checks by police this weekend?
They will, the normal arrangements will take place, which is we will ensure that yeah, we will be checking up on those people on a daily basis to ensure that, A, they understand this data. Secondly, checking in on their health and their wellbeing, that is our primary responsibility. And also, ensuring that they’re staying where they are. There are ongoing check arrangements that we do through our authorized officers, police if necessary, and that work is ongoing.
Speaker 7: (21:10)
And, just with the Broadmeadows Community Housing, instead of 86 people had been tested, it was about 125 really critical isolating.
Speaker 7: (21:18)
Have they, the other 40, been tested or what’s…
That’s right. So, we went round all the flats yesterday in the building. We tested the 86 people that were available to us during the course of the day. We believe there are another 30 or so people that normally reside at the building, and we’ll be testing them over the coming days.
Speaker 7: (21:32)
So, I see you mean, obviously the self isolation is only lifted for those who have had their results.
No, no. The self isolation has been lifted for all the residents of that particular block. What we were trying to do, again, the abundance of caution approach that we now take is to say, let’s establish whether we think there has been any transmission in this building. We conducted a lot of discussions yesterday with the residents of the building to understand the social patterns that take place, who’s seeing who, who is working with who, we ensure the deep cleaning of the common areas and the testing results, given we’ve tested over two thirds of the people in that building. We’re confident that there is no reason to suspect community transmission beyond the original family that were there. They were relocated a couple of days ago towards under their accommodation. [inaudible 00:22:13]
Speaker 6: (22:13)
Just following Andrew’s question, where were the other 30 people that you’re still trying to test?
So, we were there for, I think a 10, 12 hour period yesterday. People have different reasons for either being in or not being in their property. We don’t have… I don’t keep a complete roll call of everybody on the building…
Speaker 6: (22:32)
Were you still trying to give orders… Were you yesterday, still trying to give the orders to them to isolate?
No. So, the orders were only… The advisory notice was posted to them on the end of Tuesday night, so 36 hours ago. That was, both through door knocking, direct conversations, phone calls, and notices and letters under the door. So, we’re confident that work was well done. We have a register of who is registered in that particular building. We’ve worked our way through that register. We’ve worked on both of the doors. We’re trying to establish whether there’s been any transmission in that building, based on all the work we’ve done over the last 36 hours. We don’t think there’s a reason to believe that any more than any other set of buildings. And, therefore, we’re taking the view that the people in that block have done what we’ve asked them to do. They’ve gone and got tested. We’ve got all the negative results back overnight, and we’re pleased to move on and focus on those remaining areas of risk. [crosstalk 00:23:23]
Speaker 3: (23:25)
[crosstalk 00:23:25] they weren’t in the isolation in the day or two before they tested positive. How many close contacts did they have and which settings were they in? Were they an essential worker? What were their movements in the days in which they were infectious?
For which people would you-
Speaker 3: (23:39)
[crosstalk 00:23:39] positive case last night?
So, the new positive case, based on our initial conversations with her, has had a very few contacts outside of the house and we’re continuing those conversations.
Speaker 8: (23:50)
Sorry Jerone, back on the DET. Do you accept that those, I guess, channels of communication should have been in place before school started back up again?
No, I disagree. I think, if you look at the-
Male Reporter: (24:03)
No, I disagree. If you look at the history of how we’ve dealt with these outbreaks, how we support people with coronavirus, if you go right back to the provisions we make to ensure people have got access to funding if they haven’t got work insurance of some kind, the food relief we provide, the support we provide, we’re continuing to step up our response as we get to a smaller number of cases. And I think that the work we’ve done with the education sector has been of a very high standard. The education sector has responded exceptionally well in terms of the study from home arrangements over the last three, four months, and we continue to work with them to say… As we now see a small number of cases circulating in our community, we’re now starting to really track in on those and ensure that all the key stakeholders have got that information and can support those individuals to do the right thing. [crosstalk 00:24:49].
Male Reporter: (24:51)
Sorry. You go ahead.
Female Reporter: (24:52)
No, no, you go. I was going to…
Male Reporter: (24:54)
Okay. Tyrone, just on regional contact tracing teams, if you don’t mind, are they still stood up, those localized regional teams, or is DHS taking back central control, looking at contract tracing in the regional areas?
No, no, no. The regional contact tracing teams, as we saw in Shepherds and only the other week, have been an integral part of our response. It’s allowed us to move faster, to connect better with local communities. It’s been a really strong part of our response, and we will continue to drive that. We don’t shy away from the fact that, ultimately, it is under the Chief Health Officer’s powers that we direct all of this work program. Clearly, DHSS, the team that I work with, have an oversight responsibility. We ultimately provide the legal authorization for all the work around contact tracing, but the delivery through those regional teams has been exceptional.
And the good news is at the moment, we have no regional contact tracing to do. That’s a good place to be. I suspect we will continue to call on them in the future, should we find another case, Ararat being a good example.
Female Reporter: (25:54)
Premier, just a question for you, if I may, please. I know we’ve obviously discussed this in the past, that international rivals won’t be coming back to Melbourne until hotel quarantine inquiry report comes down. Do you expect that we may see international arrivals by Christmas?
Daniel Andrews: (26:09)
That’s certainly our aim. Yes, that’s certainly our aim. We need to say the report. We then need to put in place arrangements that everybody can have confidence in, and I think national cabinet, later this morning, will be talking about some of those issues. There’s going to be… Well, we know there are a significant number of Aussies who are overseas and want to be home by Christmas, and I’d very much like to have them flying directly into Melbourne, those that need to come to our state, flying direct.
Female Reporter: (26:37)
And just to confirm, should the reporting date be pushed back, the international arrivals still obviously won’t occur until that report comes in?
Daniel Andrews: (26:44)
That is correct.
Male Reporter: (26:46)
Daniel Andrews: (26:46)
Though I have no sense that that’s going to happen. I’ve no sense that they’re going to take longer. They may. I just don’t think it’s appropriate that we have flights landing before we’ve had a report into that very program.
Male Reporter: (27:00)
Premier, are you aware if any Victorians are on these flights coming out of London and Dubai, and are you aware… Is the government helping get Victorians back from Darwin once they’ve finished their quarantine?
Daniel Andrews: (27:15)
I am not aware of that, but I can try and chase it up for you. Obviously, there’s quarantine arrangements that have been in place for quite some time now, where people go and do their quarantine elsewhere and then travel to Victoria.
Male Reporter: (27:26)
[crosstalk 00:27:26] is there a potential to shift the boundaries a little bit in terms of what’s classified as regional, like what you’ve done in Little River with [inaudible 00:27:35] the Mornington Peninsula and Cardinia Shire?
Daniel Andrews: (27:36)
Yeah, I think it’s very important to acknowledge that the Little River township was… well, is until last night’s change, essentially cutting too by that boundary, the communities on both sides of that metro regional boundary. That is not the same as the [inaudible 00:27:51] Mornington Peninsula. That is not the same as a number of other communities in Cardinia Shire. On Sunday, I’ll have more to say about those arrangements, 25 Ks, regional metro border. All of those issues are being looked at very, very closely, and we’ll have those different restrictions in place only for so long as they serve a public health benefit and help us to keep the numbers low so that we can keep opening up. All of those matters will be things that I’ll talk about on Sunday.
Female Reporter: (28:20)
[crosstalk 00:28:20] this school that’s [inaudible 00:28:21] connection to the other case notified yesterday. Are you concerned about further easing restrictions on Sunday, given the fact that this virus could be in so many invisible places still?
Daniel Andrews: (28:31)
Well, what we know is that there will be more virus out there than what we can ever detect on any given day, and that’s the product of a few different things. (One) not everybody gets tested, even though they’ve got symptoms. Not everybody gets tested as fast as they should, so they will move around the community or even in their own household for two, three days, sometimes longer even, and that can be the most infectious period. So short of testing everybody every day, there’s always going to be some of this virus bubbling out there. That’s why we’re not trying to get it down to zero forever because we would be closed for a much longer period of time if we tried to achieve that.
Daniel Andrews: (29:09)
What we do know is that there will be outbreaks. There will be cases. The really difficult judgments that’ll have to be made based on a rigorous analysis of today’s data and all this week’s data plus data that we receive tomorrow, so the case numbers and all those interviews and all the other work that we do, the results of the asymptomatic testing that’s going on at the school today, and probably into the evening tonight, all of those things will be weighed up, and then we’ll make a judgment Saturday night about what’s possible to be announced on Sunday.
Daniel Andrews: (29:37)
And I just, again, make the point. It won’t be that a whole range of restrictions come off from Sunday [inaudible 00:29:43]. It’s going to be a lead in. There’ll be a couple of days, I think, for people to get ready for that. So we do have a few more days of data to come through before those changes would actually happen, but we’re confident in where things are at the moment. But it is highly variable. It does move fast. It does move silently. And I can’t, with any certainty, predict what the numbers will be tomorrow, but the strategy’s working. The trend is with us. The numbers are falling, and that is a very good thing.
Male Reporter: (30:09)
Is there any chance of a different set of rules on a Sunday for the area where the outbreak is happening, if that does get worse between now and Sunday, for example, on retail and hospitality?
Daniel Andrews: (30:17)
I don’t believe so.
Male Reporter: (30:19)
Is it being considered?
Daniel Andrews: (30:22)
No, I don’t think it will be considered because what… I’ll take you back to Shepparton, for instance. We had a different set of arrangements in Shepparton, and I think a regional community can… You can do those different settings in a regional city, a regional township, much more easily than you can in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne, or even the outer northern suburbs of Melbourne. What we saw some months ago now is that there is such significant movement in and out, unless you do a literally hard lockdown, where no one can go in or out, which then means nurses don’t go to work. Teachers don’t go to work. Police don’t go to work. No products go in or out. No one in any workplace from those postcodes would be able to go to work. We just don’t think that works, so we will… Let’s do the testing. Let’s get the results, and then we’ll be in a better position to know how much of it’s in there.
Are you looking-
Male Reporter: (31:12)
Sorry. You go, Andrea.
Thanks a lot. Are you looking at lifting hospitality limits further than previously suggested?
Daniel Andrews: (31:18)
Everything’s on the table, and we’ll have more to say about that on Sunday.
Including lifting the 25K limit?
Daniel Andrews: (31:23)
We will have more to say about all those arrangements. It’s not just an announcement for one day. We hope to be able to give people a clear sense of what the next few weeks look like. That’s what people want, and that’s what we believe we’re in a position to do. But again, in advance of Sunday, whatever we announce always has to be subject to whatever happens in the days and weeks prior to that. These case numbers are always going to be important to us, trends, patterns, outbreaks. All of those things are going to be important to us unless and until we get the ultimate cure for this, and that is a vaccine.
And just with regards to the dark opening, does that mean you’re expecting places to be able to open on the Wednesday or the Thursday officially?
Daniel Andrews: (32:01)
I’ll confirm those arrangements on Sunday. That is not settled yet, but the notion of that dark opening, giving people an opportunity to… There’s lots of different reasons why you would, if you were running a business, that you’d want to do that, but from our point of view, it is an opportunity. And the public policy logic to it is it’s an opportunity for people to go in, make the place COVID safe, so that when they do open, they can fully comply with all the things that are asked of them under that COVID safe planning for them, for their staff, and of course, for their customers.
Male Reporter: (32:31)
[crosstalk 00:32:31]. So thousands of people got their hair cut this week, and it seems as if people are still taking records through pen and paper. Shouldn’t QR codes, or a more digitized form of record keeping, be a condition of reopening given what we’ve been through?
Daniel Andrews: (32:51)
Oh, I don’t think so. I think we can move to that in stages. I think [inaudible 00:32:55] made some announcements about things they are doing. Ultimately pen and paper is fine if it’s accurate, and we look at the Kilmore Café. That wasn’t QR coded. It was pen and paper, and they did an extraordinarily good job to keep absolutely meticulous records. At least that’s the all the advice I’ve received.
Daniel Andrews: (33:13)
I think as things unfold, you’ll see more of this tech use to try and support that just to… I know that, for instance, there’s a number of supermarket chains that are… You don’t have to touch on as you come into the supermarket, but if they ask you to, and if you do, then they’ve got a record of the fact you were there. So I think these things will take a little bit of time to settle, but I don’t see… Sometimes doing things the old-fashioned ways doesn’t in any way inhibit things.
Male Reporter: (33:40)
Do you have a message for those planning to protest in the precincts around the shrine today?
Daniel Andrews: (33:46)
Well, the shrine is a sacred place, and not only is it wrong to protest, it’s not safe. It’s unlawful, and it is, frankly, shameful that anyone would seek to protest any issue at such a special place, a place that is regarded with such reverence because of what it symbolizes. It symbolizes, with more than a little irony, the fact that many, many people died to give people the right to protest. The least you can do, if you’re determined to protest, don’t go there. But I’d argue you should stay at home because Victoria police have got enough to get on with. You shouldn’t be protesting at all. That just doesn’t make any sense.
Male Reporter: (34:30)
Are protests still illegal under the Cho directions?
Daniel Andrews: (34:31)
Yeah. Absolutely, they are.
Male Reporter: (34:31)
Daniel Andrews: (34:32)
You should stay at home. The protests don’t work against this virus, and they potentially put at risk all the good work that we’ve done.
Male Reporter: (34:38)
Have you been briefed on how these potential protesters will be dealt with, should they arrive on the shrine grounds, which are sacred in themself and obviously under certain legislation? But you’ve obviously got the other legislation regarding the Cho directions as well.
Daniel Andrews: (34:57)
I haven’t been briefed on the specifics of that. I just think common decency would see people only go to the shrine when they wanted to remember and to appropriately commemorate the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of others. That’s what the shrine’s about. It’s not about making political points one way or the other. Protests are not safe. Protests are selfish. Protests are potentially very dangerous to the strategy we have in place. We want to get the place to open, and we want to make announcements on Sunday, and if people are out protesting, that does not help.
Male Reporter: (35:32)
But groups of 10 from two households are allowed to gather.
Daniel Andrews: (35:34)
Male Reporter: (35:34)
[crosstalk 00:35:34] people are socially distant, then surely this-
Daniel Andrews: (35:37)
But that’s different, [inaudible 00:35:37]. If you’re going to have a picnic, that’s very different to someone who’s got placards and protests. That’s a very different thing. That’s a very different thing.
Male Reporter: (35:44)
Daniel Andrews: (35:44)
The one thing that puts some of those settings at risk is if people are out there gathering to make political points, and now’s not the time for that. There will be a time for that, and it’s a really important part of our democratic system. Not at the shrine, I might add, but in a broader sense, people can have their views, but it’s an unusual year.
Daniel Andrews: (36:03)
… have their views, but it’s an unusual year, and we’d like it to end. And the best way to do that is if we all do the right thing,
Speaker 9: (36:09)
Sorry to interrupt. Before, on the northern suburbs, what improvements have been made in recent months, Premiere, on communication with non-English speaking communities? And secondly, is the northern suburbs local contact tracing hub being used for this outbreak? I don’t believe it was operational last week.
Daniel Andrews: (36:26)
Well, there are differences between those who might do contact tracing and those who might do public health work, which is broader than that. So it’s about community information. It’s the first point of your two-part question. Look, I think that, every day, we look for different ways, enhanced ways, to get to some communities that are pretty hard to get to. They’re hard to, sometimes, connect with. And that can be language issues, cultural issues, all sorts of different things.
Daniel Andrews: (36:51)
There’s not any one particular group that we’re focused on. We’re focused on everybody, and everyone has their own unique circumstances. And some people have unique challenges as to whether we can get the public health messaging and compliance and a proper understanding of what’s required of them through.
Speaker 9: (37:07)
And what are some of the changes [crosstalk 00:01:04]?
Daniel Andrews: (37:08)
Oh, there’s too many to mention, but we engage with community leaders. We use multicultural media. We use mainstream media. We use all manner of social media platforms. We do lots of old-fashioned stuff, literally having meetings with people and enlisting them to go and speak to people within the community. So genuine people who are looked up to, whether that be a faith leader or some other leader in a given area. All of that and more.
Daniel Andrews: (37:34)
And I think it’s fair to say there’s a constant search for ways in which we can better link with the diverse communities that make up our city and state. That’s an ongoing project. And I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where we can say, “Oh, well, that’s all fine. We don’t need to keep looking for other ways to do that.” It’s a constant thing. And I think the good news is that it’s actually working. We’ve got, I think, better linkages with people across the board, right across the city, right across the state, than we’ve perhaps ever had.
Speaker 10: (38:09)
Jerome mentioned there were fragments of the virus found in Ararat, through those wastewater systems. There’s a pop-up testing clinic there. What is being done for inmates of the Hopkins Correctional Center? Are they being tested?
Daniel Andrews: (38:20)
I need to come back to you in terms of what Corrections Victoria are doing about that. It is well-known and well-understood to us that, within that catchment, there are not just one but two correctional facilities. We will get an answer for you on what’s exactly happening there.
Daniel Andrews: (38:36)
Prisons have been extremely well-managed. They’ve been, even with COVID rules in place. So not as many trials going on, not as many arrest being made, I suppose, in a broader sense. Those who run our prisons, Corrections Victoria, have done an amazing job to keep the virus out. But on the specifics of that, I’m more than happy to come back to you.
Speaker 11: (39:01)
Just in terms of the history of cases, there’s 10 at the moment, obviously from that date.
Daniel Andrews: (39:07)
Speaker 11: (39:08)
What are you expecting in the next few days? Will some of those be dropping off? Or what are you expecting in terms of mystery cases? And are you confident that the numbers are now trending in the right direction, that not many more seem to be coming up?
Daniel Andrews: (39:21)
If memory serves me correctly, there are two that drop off tomorrow and one that drops off on Sunday. So barring any additionals, we should be down to seven by Sunday, that if my memory is correct.
Daniel Andrews: (39:32)
Beyond that, there’s still some work going on around that expert panel, looking at individual cases. And there may be cases that come into that, over the course of time. What we know is that there’s at least a couple of those 10 there via a total abundance of caution. They may not be mystery cases at all. We have some sense, but we can’t establish, to our satisfaction, to that really high standard, that there is an index case.
Daniel Andrews: (39:59)
So again, it’s through that abundance of caution, but I think the trend is with us on those numbers, also. Less overall cases will mean less mystery cases because they always form a percentage of the overall. And that’s been pretty steady. It’s at 10 to 15%.
Speaker 9: (40:15)
Speaker 12: (40:15)
Speaker 9: (40:16)
Premiere, just… sorry. Back to the protests, if you wouldn’t mind. I’m told from my colleague, who covered the news conference yesterday with Luke Cornelius, that he didn’t categorically condemn the protest or say that it was unlawful. But police, yesterday, outlined that they’ll, today, be asking people if they’ve come from further than 25 K’s away and how many households they’re in [crosstalk 00:40:42].
Daniel Andrews: (40:44)
Well, you can’t be in more than two households. You can’t be in a group of more than 10. You can’t be 25 K’s from your house. If you want to completely abuse the fact that we’re allowing people to gather for the purposes of a picnic, say, or to see family they’ve not seen for months, and then turn that into a stunt at the shrine, that is not right. That is simply not right. And if any rules are broken, any rules, Victoria police won’t hesitate to act.
Speaker 11: (41:11)
[crosstalk 00:41:11] Brett Sutton here?
Speaker 10: (41:14)
Premiere, can you not say where Professor Brett Sutton is today?
Daniel Andrews: (41:15)
He’ll be doing all sorts of work today, making sure that we’re ready to make announcements about restrictions on Sunday. I think he’ll probably be here tomorrow.
Speaker 10: (41:24)
Was this a planned day off?
Daniel Andrews: (41:26)
I couldn’t tell you. Yesterday certainly was. He doesn’t work Thursdays. I’m not sure what the plan was today, but I know he’ll be working hard. We are all working hard to be ready to be making those announcements on Sunday. And I will predict, I can’t be certain, but I’ll predict that he’ll be here tomorrow.
Speaker 11: (41:44)
Have you and the PM signed on off airport row?
Speaker 9: (41:44)
[crosstalk 00:41:41]. I know he’s very busy. We all know he’s very busy, but it is unusual that he hasn’t been here for four days-
Daniel Andrews: (41:51)
No, I don’t think-
Speaker 9: (41:52)
… of a very, very important week both for contact tracing and the health response.
Daniel Andrews: (41:55)
Every week is-
Speaker 9: (41:56)
Do you acknowledge that it doesn’t engender public confidence in your confidence in him, if he doesn’t appear with you consistently?
Daniel Andrews: (42:02)
No, I wouldn’t make that acknowledgement at all. He doesn’t work every single day. And when he does work, his work includes more than standing here answering your questions. His work involves many, many things, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be here tomorrow. And you can ask him lots of questions, then.
Speaker 11: (42:20)
Have you and the PM signed off on airport row?
Daniel Andrews: (42:23)
We are very close to being able to make some very significant announcements on what is one of the biggest projects that our state has ever seen. And that means jobs. That means thousands and thousands of jobs and giving that larger part of our construction industry the certainty of knowing that there’s a pipeline of work so they can plan, and they can spread the cost of their operations off, over lots of different projects that they may will win. That’s about confidence and making sure that that sector is strong.
Daniel Andrews: (42:51)
Today is not the day that we’ll make announcements about that, but we will be able to, quite soon. And I think you’ll see that that project will be part of the biggest infrastructure agenda, both large and small projects, biggest jobs agenda, so families have got certainty that the state’s ever seen between partnerships with the Commonwealth and things that we’ll do, which will be announced in coming weeks.
Speaker 11: (43:14)
So you’re just waiting for the PM to be able to get down here, to make that announcement?
Daniel Andrews: (43:19)
No. But we’ll welcome him when he does. And we’ll be able to make that important announcement.
Speaker 11: (43:22)
And can you just give us a preview of national cabinet before you head in? Just what are you hoping, or what can Victoria expect out of today?
Daniel Andrews: (43:34)
Oh, it’s pretty stocked [crosstalk 00:00:43:34]. The meeting will cover a whole range of different issues, but there’s no massive development that I think I’ll be reporting to you afterwards. I think the prime minister will probably speak on behalf of all national cabinet members at a press conference later this afternoon, perhaps. I don’t know that that’s the case, but that’s usually the way these things go,
Speaker 10: (43:52)
Premiere, just on national cabinet there. You flagged, potentially, we’re opening international flights into Victoria by Christmas. What do you say to Victorians who might be looking to travel interstate for Christmas or vice versa, have family coming to Victoria for Christmas? Is that on the table?
Daniel Andrews: (44:05)
Yes, it is. And we’re working as hard as we possibly can to have the borders open and to have a freedom of movement between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, between Victoria and other states, and, subject to some quarantine arrangements, people coming from overseas into Melbourne Airport and into a quarantine arrangement that’s safe for them and safe for every single Victorian. We want all that up and running by Christmas. That’s our aim. I can’t give you a definitive date. I can’t guarantee that, but that’s certainly what we’re working towards.
Speaker 10: (44:36)
Is it a tough job convincing your national cabinet colleagues to open up to Victoria?
Daniel Andrews: (44:40)
No, I don’t think so. I think we made a commitment that the… We were happy to… sorry. “Happy” is probably the wrong word. We were understanding of why they had closed the borders. And the best thing we could do is get our numbers down to as low as possible. That would be the most meaningful way to get those borders open. And that’s exactly what Victorians have done. And I’m proud of Victorians for that effort. And I dare say that today’s national cabinet will involve a pretty clear acknowledgement from all other first ministers that the people of this great state have done an amazing job in getting those numbers down in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
Speaker 12: (45:13)
Speaker 10: (45:13)
Premiere, just on interstate travel.
Daniel Andrews: (45:15)
Speaker 10: (45:15)
Do you see any value in border testing, so testing at the border for those states, given that this could be with us for months and months ahead?
Daniel Andrews: (45:26)
Yeah. To be honest, I haven’t really turned my mind to that. I think it is much more likely than not that we will get interstate borders open before the end of the year, provided that everybody’s case numbers, not just in Victoria, but everywhere… Everybody’s case numbers are low. We are well on track to be able to achieve that. That’s our aim. And hopefully we can have those borders lifted, including the border between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, so that there is a much greater freedom of movement.
Daniel Andrews: (45:55)
I will again say, though, I’m not encouraging anyone to go interstate anytime soon. If you want a holiday or, at some point when that’s allowed and when that’s appropriate, between now and the end of the year, then there are lots of places in regional Victoria that have done it pretty tough, and they’d be only too happy to have you along and make sure that they look after you to the highest standard.
Speaker 10: (46:17)
And just finally, obviously, your Queensland counterpart is in the midst of a campaign. Have you spoken to her at all during that time?
Daniel Andrews: (46:20)
Yeah, I speak to Anastasia. She’s a good friend and someone who’s working very hard for Queensland, to keep Queensland safe and to make sure Queensland’s strong. And if there’s no other issues…
Speaker 13: (46:32)
What are you doing for the footy tomorrow night?
Daniel Andrews: (46:34)
I think I’ll get to watch the second half, because the first half I’ll be in meetings, determining what I’m going to be announcing to you on Sunday. Any other issues?
Speaker 13: (46:43)
You have a tip?
Daniel Andrews: (46:44)
I think it’ll be a very close game, and I think Geelong will win by a goal. That is my prediction, but I have to wait and see. I think it will be a genuinely fantastic game of footy. Any other issues? If not, see you tomorrow. Thank you.
Speaker 13: (47:04)
Everyone wants your tips, Jerome.
[inaudible 00:47:06] Geelong.
Speaker 13: (47:06)
Speaker 13: (47:08)
We’ll get off later.