Aug 7, 2020

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews Press Conference Transcript August 7

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews Press Conference Transcript August 7
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsVictoria Premier Dan Andrews Press Conference Transcript August 7

Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, held a press conference on August 7 about the COVID-19 outbreak. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.

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Daniel Andrews: (12:12)
Thanks for joining us. First things first, there are 13,867 cumulative confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria. That’s 450 new cases since our last update. There have tragically by now [inaudible 00:12:31] people in Victoria pass away because of this global pandemic. That’s an increase of 11, so 11 further deaths since I updated you yesterday, one female in her 50s, two males in their 70s, three males and three females in their 80s, and two females in their 90s. We, of course, send our best wishes and our sympathies to the families of each of those 11 Victorians, and the great difficulties that they will be experiencing at the moment are acknowledged. They’re in our thoughts and our prayers.

Daniel Andrews: (13:15)
Seven of those 11 deaths are connected to aged care settings. There are some-607 Victorians that are in hospital with 41 of those receiving intensive care. To date, there are 1,527 confirmed cases in healthcare workers. That’s 139 more than yesterday, and there are currently 911 healthcare workers who are active cases. I’ll come back to that in just a moment. There’s 2,500, sorry, 2,454 cases with unknown source. That’s an aggregate. 66 since yesterday’s report, so 66 additional mystery cases. That number is lower than it has been in recent days. We’re obviously pleased about that, but still far too many of those community transmission mystery cases that we can’t find the source or the circumstance behind that infection.

Daniel Andrews: (14:11)
I don’t have an aggregate number of tests for you today. As I’ve said a couple of times now, we’re moving very much to an exclusive focus on the positives. Tallying up the negatives is a slightly delayed process, but I can confirm that laboratories have confirmed for us that there’s around 25,000 tests, at least 25,000 tests conducted yesterday. There are 7,637 active cases across the state and 1,548 active cases in connection with aged care.

Daniel Andrews: (14:44)
Going to just go back to the health worker infection issue, and just, again, make the point that I’ve made many times, but it’s worth making again. Our nurses, doctors, ambulance, paramedics, cooks, cleaners, orderlies, ward clerks, everybody in our hospital system, they are not the front line, they are the last line of defense, and I would just ask all Victorians to follow the rules are to protect themselves, but also to protect their dedicated healthcare team.

Daniel Andrews: (15:13)
They are heroes. Their courage and their compassion and the care that they provide is just amazing. The best thing we can do is to follow each of these rules, make good decisions at a personal level because that will not only keep us safe and every other family safe, but it will mean that our healthcare heroes are exposed to less of this virus, have to treat less patients. Their work is truly honored by us doing that. That is the best way for us to say, “Thank you,” to them.

Daniel Andrews: (15:46)
Now, I’ve got an update in relation to ADF and authorized officers from the Department of Health, the door-knocking program that they have been undertaking. I can confirm that the joint ADF/Department of Health teams have conducted more than 5,000 home visits since the 22nd of July when the program began. Yesterday, there were 60 joint teams, including 120 ADF personnel, and there’ll be more that are arriving over the course of the coming week. That links back to the announcements I made and some of the detail I gave you a few days ago about an additional 500-plus ADF staff coming to join us.

Daniel Andrews: (16:27)
Yesterday, for instance, there was those 60 teams that was at least 120 ADF, plus some Department of Health authorized officers. They conducted 1,150 visits. That’s the biggest single-day effort since the program began, and that number will only increase as we move beyond simply door-knocking. This started with people we couldn’t get in contact with who were positive, and then instead of doing interviews over the phone, we’re doing interviews on their doorstep. Then it moved to all positive cases being door-knocked, and then all progressively move to all close contacts being door-knocked as well. That’ll be random. There will be repeat door-knocks that are all about making sure people are doing the right thing and that we can provide support and assistance to anybody who needs that.

Daniel Andrews: (17:14)
1,150 yesterday, the biggest day so far. People were home, pleasingly, for 1,000. These are rough numbers. A thousand of those, 1,150 people could be found where they were supposed to be. The 150 who could not, they have been referred to Victoria Police, and I can confirm that there are around 500 people who are not where they should be. This is cumulatively. They’ve all been sent to Victoria Police in Victoria Police are making inquiries as they do with those 500 people.

Daniel Andrews: (17:51)
I do hope to be able to provide you with an update on the outcomes of the work that Victoria Police has done, perhaps over the course of the weekend, but that is certainly a smaller number of people that could not be found at home than we have seen, and I’m very grateful to those Victorians who are doing the right thing and are where they should be, and that is away from other people, isolated at home, doing everything they possibly can to look after themselves, of course, but to look after everybody else by not spreading this virus, by not coming into contact with others.

Daniel Andrews: (18:22)
I know it’s very challenging. That’s why visiting is important, I think, not just for compliance, but for the purposes of information and clarity and providing support to anybody who might need it. Everyone’s different. Everyone will have different needs. Some people have particularly well-established support networks that they can fall back on. There are many other people who don’t, so those door knocks serve a number of purposes, all of which are very important.

Daniel Andrews: (18:45)
As I said, if I can get you further up… Sorry. I will get an update over the course of the weekend in terms of Victoria Police’s investigations and the other work that they’re doing around people who should have been at home and were not at home. I, again, stress, there may be lawful reasons for that. Addresses may be incorrect. People may be maybe doing their isolate somewhere else, but it is clear there are some people who are not, and that’s why Victoria Police have additional powers, additional fines that they can levy. I’ll come back to you with some further information on that over the course of the weekend.

Daniel Andrews: (19:21)
In general terms, I just want to say thank you to every single Victorian who is doing the right thing. I want to say thank you to our industry, who have been across the board, large and small, every part of the state, every sector we’ve been working so closely with, and I’m very pleased to see lots of acknowledgement today from lots of different quarters, not about thanking me, but thanking the team of people who have been engaging directly. It’s very pleasing to see that that dialogue, those important discussions have delivered us not an easy set of decisions, but the outcome we need. Just driving in this morning compared to yesterday, there are significantly less volume on the road. That will be confirmed by data over the course of the weekend I’m certain.

Daniel Andrews: (20:07)
But these are the decisions we have to take. It’s heartbreaking. It’s very challenging, but unless we drive down movement, the number of people moving around Victoria, we won’t drive down the number of coronavirus cases. Then we will remain in these terrible conditions, these very challenging rules for much longer than we otherwise would. That’s not what we want. That’s not the advice of the experts. There is a lot of pain here, but ultimately, there’ll be significant gain for all of us when we can move to reopen when we can move past the second wave.

Daniel Andrews: (20:37)
I think that probably covers off each of the items that I wanted to go to. Of course, we’re always happy to answer any questions you have, but before then, the deputy premier and education minister has got some very significant announcements in relation to support for school students, particularly senior students, welfare, mental health, but also some announcements about how the balance of Year 12 will play out. I’ll throw over to the deputy premier.

Daniel Andrews: (21:02)
… play out. I’ll throw over to the deputy premier.

James Merlino: (21:06)
Thank you, Premier. Today we are making a significant announcement for particularly our VCE students. This has been front of mind for the premier and for the government in terms of how we can support our students during their last year of schooling, because every other year level, we’ve got time. We’ve got time at the end of this year and next year to catch up students who need that catching up. We’ve got time to reengage those students who have disengaged from school. But for our year 12 students, this is it. This is their last year of school, and we know that there are many students, many parents who are worried about how COVID-19 will impact on their VCE scores and impact on the ATAR ranking. I’m constantly asked about this and constantly being raised concerns from students and from our schools.

James Merlino: (22:03)
This year is like no other. It’s an unprecedented year, and we need to support our students in an unprecedented way. Previously, with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and VTech and special considerations, previously, special consideration is based on a case-by-case basis. It might be, for example, a student might have an accident on their way to one of their VCE exams, a student may be absent for a long period of time due to an illness. In those circumstances, a special consideration case is made for that individual student. But this year, we’re going to do things very, very differently.

James Merlino: (22:45)
What we’re announcing today is that every single VCE student will be individually assessed, and any adverse impacts from COVID-19 will be reflected in their ATAR ranking. This is quite an extraordinary change. Every single student will be individually assessed. We’ll look at things such as school closures. We’ll look at things such as long absences. We’ll look at things, for example, such as significant increase in family responsibilities as a result of COVID-19, and we’ll, of course, consider the mental health and wellbeing of students during this period. All of those factors will be considered.

James Merlino: (23:29)
Now, students will go into their VCE exams with the confidence knowing that they will not be disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19. They’ll go into their exams knowing that their final scores and their ATAR ranking will be a fair reflection of their year, and they will not be disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19. This is a way that we can give every student and every parent of a VCE student the comfort and the confidence that their student will receive their final scores that take into account their individual circumstances. It puts them on a level playing field with every student across the state. This is quite a significant announcement.

James Merlino: (24:15)
The other thing that we’re announcing today is some additional support for vulnerable kids and for students suffering from mental health. We have always said through the course of this year, particularly going into flexible and remote learning, that our vulnerable kids will be the most disadvantaged. This is the toughest element of going through COVID-19 in a school environment. We’ve seen higher absence rates from our vulnerable cohorts. We’ve seen an increase, a sharp increase, in mental health reports within the schools, within government schools internal reporting processes.

James Merlino: (24:54)
We’re announcing today a further $28.5 million of mental health and wellbeing support. It’ll go for a variety of things: Increasing mental health training to around 1500 school staff. We’ll be rolling out mental health practitioners. We’re already rolling out mental health practitioners in mainstream schools. We are now going to roll out mental health practitioner into every single one of our specialist schools, secondary and P to 12, so 85 specialist schools will receive additional mental health practitioners. We’re also increasing our navigator program, a 33% increase in their capacity to support more than 2000 students who have disengaged from their schooling. A range of other supports, students in out of home care, and also other wellbeing supports will be in place.

James Merlino: (25:49)
This is a significant package to address our most vulnerable cohort of students, but we’re also announcing today our support for every single VCE student as they head towards the rest of their year, their final year, and their VCE exams at the end of the year. Thank you.

James Merlino: (26:09)
Do you want professor [inaudible 00:26:10]?

Daniel Andrews: (26:09)
Professor, do you want add any comments on the data of the day?

Rick: (26:15)
Thanks, Premier. Certainly the numbers today are reasonable in terms of how it’s been in recent days. I think it is important to make the point that we have seen fluctuations. We’ve seen very significant ups and downs with numbers that can occur with batching of results from our laboratories, but the trend overall is that we’re kind of sitting at 4 to 500 cases a day. That is relatively flat over the last week. We are now looking to see the effects of various interventions. Obviously, masks may show in the numbers in days to come. Obviously, the Stage Four restrictions will show after that. That’s what we’re looking for in the numbers now, but we certainly don’t hang on a single day’s result as being indicative of too much. We’re looking at those five-day averages, seven-day averages in terms of how things are going.

Reporter: (27:08)
[inaudible 00:27:12], how many cases [inaudible 00:06:16]? What is the data on that?

Rick: (27:19)
I haven’t got today’s data. We’ve had a few cases, so there’s been a very small number in disability settings, but it’s another vulnerable setting. We certainly want to make sure that it is protected to the fullest extent possible. There’s obviously guidance for those disabilities settings around how to mitigate that risk as much as possible, but those are vulnerable individuals. Anyone with chronic illness, not just elderly individuals, but anyone who’s had a longstanding medical condition is also more vulnerable to more severe illness, and that obviously applies in disability settings.

Reporter: (27:51)
A special [inaudible 00:27:53].

Rick: (27:58)
Certainly the workforce is a little bit more stable in the sense of not working across as many locations as has been the case in aged care. That’s one positive in terms of the disability sector, but there is specific guidance on all of those public health interventions that we know are useful to reduce the risk of transmission. They’re still basic things: Hand-washing, absolute exclusion when you’re unwell, trying to keep a distance to the fullest extent possible and wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment when dealing closely with clients.

Reporter: (28:39)
Do you have any of the latest data on hospitalizations?

Rick: (28:40)
Hospitalizations, as of today, are that we have 607 currently in hospital, that’s an increase of 69 since yesterday. There are 41 patients in intensive care, that’s a decrease of one, and 28 ICU patients are on ventilators.

Speaker 1: (28:56)
Right, everyone’s got their opinions about when we expect to see case numbers fall. Can you give an indication of when we might see that happening or is it just too risky to make that prediction?

Rick: (29:11)
Crystal ball gazing is not a particular useful exercise. I think having seen stabilization in numbers, that’s a positive. We do expect within 14 days of a really significant intervention that we’ll see a change in numbers. Certainly 14 days from the really widespread implementation and the behavior change that happens with Stage Four restrictions will get a different average daily numbers I would expect. Again, it’ll go up and down on a day-to-day basis, but within two weeks, I would expect it.

Reporter: (29:48)
Can I ask on the, sorry, on the healthcare workers, 911 of them are active cases. Are the healthcare workers been getting this repeatedly, that [inaudible 00:29:59] more than once? With 911 active health workers out of the system, what does that do to staffing levels?

Rick: (30:06)
Certainly, it’s a concerning number. It’s a very big number. I’m not aware of any individual in Victoria or Australia who’s gotten the virus more than once. There might be some case reports that are a bit ambiguous internationally about people having contracted it some months after getting it the first time. We haven’t seen that in Australia at all. It’s either a very rare phenomenon or it doesn’t actually occur that people who are tested weeks and weeks later can sometimes turn up positive, but it’s probably dead virus. They’re probably not able to transmit it to others. We’re not getting people who are multiple infected.

Rick: (30:45)
In terms of the stresses and strains on staffing, it’s not insignificant, that especially applies in aged care. In our hospital system, our nurses are more represented in these healthcare worker numbers than doctors. The number of doctors is much less. That I think relates to the closeness of interaction that nurses are engaged in with their care provision. But I think a lot of the numbers in healthcare workers are actually aged care workers and some of the ancillary staff in health care. That’s a little bit easier to mobilize other individuals for specialist care. It’s more of a strain, but it is being managed.

Speaker 2: (31:26)
[inaudible 00:10:27]. Welcome back, by the way, after you retired.

Rick: (31:30)
Thank you. Yeah, it was a good retirement. Short-lived.

Speaker 2: (31:35)
On healthcare workers as well, with the infections that we’re seeing, it’s about a third of cases today, how many are getting picked up in the workplace and how many are getting picked up in the wider community? I suppose you kind of touched on it, but if it’s in the workplace, where does suggest things are going wrong. Does it show the PPE is fallible or does it show [inaudible 00:31:54]?

Rick: (31:56)
It is hard to know. This is not my area, this is the chief medical officer, Andrew Wilson, who’s looking into this with Safer Care Victoria. That, it does require a really significant investigation to try and ascertain where healthcare workers have picked up their infection. Some of it will clearly be in the hospital setting, in the aged care setting. Some of it is outside, but it’s not always easy to make a final determination because people don’t necessarily know that they’ve been in contact with, with a positive case, either inside work or outside of work. We always have to kind of make assumptions that everything that can be done should be done in the workplace setting to make it as safe as possible.

Rick: (32:41)
The work that Safe Care Victoria is doing is being shared with hospital CEOs, and those hospitals CEO’s should absolutely take that information and work with their healthcare staff to make sure everything is being done to protect them in the fullest way possible. If there are signals that PPE is insufficient, that should be fed back both international guidance, but also in the guidance that Victoria provides to healthcare workers, which, to be fair is more conservative than existing national guidance.

Speaker 3: (33:11)
Professor, the number of mystery cases was 107 yesterday and now it’s dropped to around that 60 mark. What can we read, if anything, into that?

Rick: (33:19)
I think clearly we’re going to work on watching mystery cases decrease over time, especially because when you see the healthcare worker numbers that are new every day, when you see the outbreaks that are occurring every day, they have essentially started from a community member who’s brought it into a setting where an outbreak’s been allowed to occur. As community cases decrease, we will see that decrease in outbreaks. We’ll see a decrease in that last line of defense, in our health care workers. It really is critically important to get across and on top of that community transmission so that we don’t see all of the effects of it coming into workplaces, coming into other settings where outbreaks occur. But the number that get resolved every day is really a little bit random. It depends on how many are closed off in the system, but we are watching the community transmission cases as a proportion of total cases every day. It has come down from earlier in July, so that’s a positive for sure.

Speaker 4: (34:18)
A question for the premier [inaudible 00:34:19]. Is there any consideration given to pushing exams back again given Stage Four restrictions?

James Merlino: (34:31)
No, there was no, no reason to push back VCE exams any further. We’ve moved the GAT, the General Achievement Test. That’ll be one of the markers in terms of the final VCE results will be the General Achievements Test. We’ve moved that from term three to very early in term four. In terms of the VCE exams, they will go ahead as scheduled. I think the last VCE exam is on the 2nd of December, and that’ll enable students to receive their VCE scores and their ATAR before the end of the year. This period, this current period of Stage Four lockdown ends very close to the end of term three. These are the settings we need for term three, haven’t changed anything for our VCE exams.

Speaker 4: (35:17)
Did you speak with the university sector about changes to the ATAR scores in terms of what students might be [inaudible 00:35:23] next year and how that’s going to be reflected?

James Merlino: (35:26)
The discussions we’ve had with universities has been around timing, so that’s why there was an agreement at the national level to have this two week window where the ATAR will be provided to students around the country. Victorian students are within that two week window. There’s no need to discuss with universities in terms of the arrangements we’ve announced today because an ATAR of 85, it’s a ranking. If you receive an ATAR of 85 this year, you’re in the top 15% of students in Victoria. If you received an ATAR of 85 last year, you’re in the top 15% of students in Victoria, so we didn’t have to make that adjustment with universities.

Speaker 4: (36:10)
Has there been any discussion around the International Baccalaureate [inaudible 00:36:13]

James Merlino: (36:17)
We didn’t need to make any changes to the IB in terms of what we’ve announced today. They’ve made some adjustments, of course, like we all have. We’ve already made adjustments. For example, in the course work for VCE units in term three and four. We’ve made the change to the GAT. We’ve moved the exams a bit later in the year to enable students to have more time at school during term four to prepare for those exams. We’ve made a number of changes, but what we needed to do today is to give confidence to every VCE student and to parents that when a student goes into their VCE exams, they can go in there with confidence that they will be at no disadvantage in regards to COVID-19.

James Merlino: (37:07)
I think that’s really important. This is a message today to our VCA students. There’s every motivation, every reason for you to do your best and give it your best shot in the VCE exams because we’ve made certain today that your individual circumstances will be taken into account, and any adverse impact of COVID-19 will be reflected in your ATAR that you’ll receive at the end of the year.

Speaker 5: (37:32)
Minister, what can year 12 students actually expect if they have had an adverse impact because of COVID-19? Can they expect that their ATAR could go up by 5 points or 10 points? How do they actually make that decision?

James Merlino: (37:44)
Yeah, it’ll be individually assessed. For every student, it will be different. We’ll work it out in a variety of ways. For example, at a school level, for each student in each subject they’re studying our schools will be asked to rank where they expect that student to be right now. But they’ll also be asked to rank their students if it was not for COVID-19. Both a ranking of where they are at now and where they would have been had it not been for COVID-19 and why. Then we’ll get all that data from across the state, so we’ll have a standardized adjustment. Whether it’s a longterm closure, a severe impact for a student, or whether it’s a lower impact, we’ll have a standardized way that we can adjust VCE scores and then that will be reflected in the ATAR.

James Merlino: (38:39)
But we will also look at things such as assessed coursework in term one, so prior to the impact of COVID. We’ll look at, of course, the General Achievement Test in term four, and most importantly, their VCE exams. But at a school level and an individual student level, we’re looking at, and we’re asking teachers, where do you rank your students right now and where would they have been had it not been for COVID-19 and why? That’s why the message to every single student is that you will be individually assessed. You will be at no disadvantage when you step into the VCE exams at the end of the year.

Speaker 5: (39:19)
If it’s up to teachers, how confident are you that some students still won’t slip through the cracks?

James Merlino: (39:25)
There’s a range of things we’re looking at both in terms of teacher assessment and the school assessment. We’re looking at their assessed coursework in term one, their General Achievement Test, and there VCE exams. The way we can ensure that it is done fairly is that we get the data from every single school right across the state, and then we’ll adjust those VCE scores in a fair and equitable way for every single student.

Speaker 6: (39:55)
How long is that going to take? If you’re doing every individual student, is that going to blow out times as well?

James Merlino: (40:02)
It won’t blow out times in terms of what we’re asking students to do, so your VCE exams finishing around the 2nd of December. It will mean, of course, extra work at the school level. I’ll be ensuring that year 12 teachers have the time to do this work. They’ll finish face-to-face teaching, then students go off and prepare. Often that’s the time where year 12 teachers are engaging with their kids, preparing them for the exams. But teachers may also be asked to do other activities, pick up other classes in the school. We’ll make sure that year 12 teachers will have the time to focus on these assessments because it’s absolutely critical.

James Merlino: (40:42)
In the past, it was a case-by-case, it’s relatively a handful number of students seeking special consideration. This year, every single VCE student will be individually assessed. Yep, that’ll mean more work for teachers. But I’ll be making sure that teachers will have the time to make that assessment during term four.

Speaker 7: (41:01)
Are you saying that they will get their ATAR scores [crosstalk 00:20:05]?

James Merlino: (41:04)
Absolutely. Yep.

Speaker 7: (41:07)
With no delay?

James Merlino: (41:07)
No delays at all. Both VCE and VCAL students will receive their end of year certificate, their scores, and VCE students will receive their ATAR ranking by the end of the year. There’ll be at no disadvantage to any other student anywhere in the country.

Speaker 8: (41:24)
[crosstalk 00:41:24], Minister?

James Merlino: (41:30)
Perhaps in an ideal world, we might get to a point where we can do that. I’m not comforted that we can do that. We’ve had the NAPLAN online over the last couple of years and significant challenges across the country with NAPLAN online. The advice I’ve got from the department is no. I think that’s wise advice. We’ll have VCE exams. They may look a bit different in terms of socially distancing students, but that will be based on the advice-

James Merlino: (42:03)
… in terms of socially distancing students, but that will be based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer at that time.

Reporter: (42:06)
Minister, I know you said every student will be assessed. What are you guys calculating? What proportion of students would actually get special consideration and actually get extra points for their [ATAR 00:42:17]?

James Merlino: (42:18)
I don’t have the number to give you because that will be a process of an individual assessment of every single VCE student, and we’re looking at a number of things. So it may be for students that have been quite severely impacted by COVID-19, whether they’ve contracted the virus themselves, a family member has, they’ve been a student at a school that has been closed for a protracted period of time, or it might be a student that has suffered a lot in terms of their own mental health, in terms of family responsibilities. So the impact will vary, and that’s why it’s so important that we have that individual assessment at the school level for that student. So I can’t tell you how many students across Victoria will be impacted, but every single student will be assessed, and teachers will be asked, “Where do you rank them now? And where would you have ranked them if it wasn’t for COVID-19 and why?” And then we’ll look at that data right across the state and make those adjustments.

Reporter: (43:25)
That’s quite a subjective measuring [inaudible 00:43:25] too when it comes down to individual teachers. How do you make sure that it’s a level playing field in the teacher’s assessments, and that one school isn’t, say, more lenient than others?

James Merlino: (43:31)
Yeah, it’s a good question. That’s why we’ll get the data from every single school for every student. And for the different reasons as to why a school is saying an adjustment needs to be made, we’ll be able to look at the adjustments right across the state and ensure that they are done fairly and equitably. The integrity of the scoring system in Victoria is extremely high. There’s a lot of data to back this up, and there’s a lot of data points to make sure that this is done fairly. So it’s teacher assessment, but it’s also assess course work at the start of term one, the general achievement test, the VCE exams. So there’s a lot of moderation that goes on to make sure that every student will be treated fairly and equitably.

Reporter: (44:21)
Is there a limit to how much an ATAR can be changed?

James Merlino: (44:29)
No. I’ll give you an example of what happens at the moment. Special consideration, a significant event in a student’s life, a significant long term illness, an adjustment may be going from a C to an A. A minor adjustment might be having a bingle on the way to the exam, get to the exam late, you’re a bit flustered, your exam score might go from a C to a C+. So it does vary depending on the severity of the impact on that student.

Reporter: (45:02)
What about the ATAR number? Can someone say before this, if they had got an 80, would that go up to a 90? Is there a number on that?

James Merlino: (45:10)
It is possible. It is possible. So the ATAR is a ranking. It’s a ranking of all VCE students in Victoria. If your VCE scores in your subjects, if there is a significant adjustment made, then that will lead to an adjustment in your ATAR ranking.

Reporter: (45:29)
Will all students who receive their ATAR scores on the same day as in previous years?

James Merlino: (45:34)
The students will receive it a little bit later in the year because the nature of the year has changed-

Reporter: (45:38)
Oh, but they’ll all get it on the same day?

James Merlino: (45:40)
Everyone will get on the same day. So for students in Victoria, every student will receive their ATAR on the 30th of December.

Reporter: (45:46)
I want to ask you about the Australian post, some post offices remain open. There’s also a concern about their delivery capacity an warning that the distribution center’s reduced staff is going to cause delay to getting people’s medicine delivered, [inaudible 00:46:03].

Daniel Andrews: (45:46)
Well, we have made special arrangements for distribution centers and warehouses across the pharmaceutical, medical device, other medical products. We’re in constant communication with each of those industries and sectors. I’m more than happy to follow up with Aussie post. I think people would appreciate that. I think we’re getting, from most Melbournians, there would be three physical post deliveries per week. That may need to change. If you were ordering a book, or whatever it might be, then the courier that would bring it to you might bring it to you later. I think everyone understands and appreciates that is a function of trying to have less people moving around the economy. However, if there’s something to follow up there specifically on some types of products, then we’re more than happy to do that. And I think the evidence for that is that we’ve done effectively a carve out for the supply chain around medicine and other important products that are directly linked to the care of people. So perhaps if I take that offline and try and get you a detailed answer.

Reporter: (47:06)
Just a follow up question.

Daniel Andrews: (47:06)

Reporter: (47:10)
[inaudible 00:47:10] said on the radio this morning that your advice to post office sites that they had to reduce workforce by June 3rd, but that would mean that hundreds of post office centers would close, and that they could only run for a month-

Daniel Andrews: (47:23)
So they’d be reduced down to two thirds. I’ve not seen the CEO Aussie Post’s comments, but I’m happy to follow it up and if there’s any clarification that we need to provide for you guys or for that particular business, then we’re happy to do that.

Daniel Andrews: (47:39)
As I said yesterday, and the day before, I think we’ve had literally thousands of phone calls and zoom meetings with industries, large and small, right across the whole state. I think it’s now up over 20 round tables that we’ve had in the last three or four days with all of those different sectors. Some of those matters are settled. Some of them are still being considered and worked through. We’re always open to making further changes if the desired outcome or the known consequence, if that changes because we get more information, we get more data, we get a better sense, a clearer sense.

Daniel Andrews: (48:11)
And of course, we always reserve the right to try and change these arrangements to again, achieve food on our supermarket shelves, but less people moving around the community and therefore less coronavirus cases. We think we can find those balance points, but it isn’t easy. And that’s why we’re speaking with all of those players, all of those businesses and unions to try and achieve that massive reduction in the amount of people moving around metro Melbourne, because that’s the only thing that will drive down the amount of cases. And that’s of course what we want to achieve.

Reporter: (48:46)
Is more federal support and support from other states discussed at the national cabinet meeting?

Daniel Andrews: (48:52)
National cabinet, I left the meeting once we had moved beyond COVID matters. In broad terms, I’m sure the Prime Minister will be up later on this afternoon, he can speak to all the decisions of national cabinet. But I took the opportunity to thank my first minister colleagues for their support, some of which is here in person, some of it is making telephone calls from interstate capitol’s. I took the opportunity to say thank you on behalf of all Victorians to all of them. And they all committed to me that if they can do more then they certainly will. So we are very, very pleased to be able to report that.

Reporter: (49:25)
I’m [Dawn Opke 00:49:23]. I know you don’t ever provide data on how many people are not isolating today. You had mentioned that 500 people-

Daniel Andrews: (49:32)

Reporter: (49:36)
Were not doing the right thing. Is that 500 in total?

Daniel Andrews: (49:38)
That’s how many have been referred to Victoria police.

Reporter: (49:41)

Daniel Andrews: (49:41)
Yes. Again, it’s probably best if I come back to you and give you a full briefing once I’ve got that data from Victoria police, they are following up. And when I say… I don’t want to be anything other than clear, they couldn’t be found at home. Whether they were doing the wrong thing, that’s to be determined. And I think we’ve been pretty consistent that they will be people for whom the address we’ve got is not the correct address. Now there will be people who will choose to go and isolate somewhere else with a family member or wherever it might be and that they are in fact doing the right thing. There might also be people who just don’t come to the door.

Reporter: (50:18)
So where did you get them number that 500 people weren’t doing the right thing?

Daniel Andrews: (50:22)
No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying to you is that there are 500 people that have been referred to Victoria police. That’s what I’m saying. I’m not making judgements about whether they’ve done the right or the wrong thing, other than to say they weren’t where we door knocked them when we door knocked them. Victoria police, not me, Victoria police will determine whether they’ve done the right or the wrong thing. And that’s why I’m not able every day to stand up and give you a detailed breakdown, because Victoria police are out there doing that work. And it’s the most qualitative of work, they’ve got to go and talk to people, well, they’ve got to find them first, then they’ve got to talk to them. Where were you? Why were you there? All of those things.

Daniel Andrews: (50:55)
So as soon as we can give you that breakdown, and I do hope that can be over the weekend, we will. No one’s asserting that every single person that can’t be found at the address we’ve got for them is doing the wrong thing. That would be wrong to say that, but there is a trend here. There are some people who are not taking their iso seriously.

Daniel Andrews: (51:11)
But I’ve got to say out of 1,150 visits that were conducted yesterday, the biggest day ever, we only had 150 of those people who didn’t answer the door. That’s less than some of the numbers, up to a third, that had been running earlier. So that a wholly good thing. Of those 150, there will be a percentage who are not doing the right thing. Then there’ll be a much larger group, I hope, that will be able to convince police that they had a reason, a perfectly good reason not to have answered the door when ADF and health department officials knocked on it.

Reporter: (51:46)
Is the message getting through?

Daniel Andrews: (51:49)
Well, we’ve moved to a new phase, there are new rules, there’s a curfew, there are more significant penalties. And again, we’ll be able to come back… I think there have been a couple of additional penalties, those higher penalties have been issued, I have to get that confirmed. I don’t know, if I can give you that tomorrow I will.

Daniel Andrews: (52:07)
Look, I think that all Victorians now and understand these are not the steps we wanted to have to take. This has never been done before. But this is the greatest challenge we have ever faced. This is a wicked enemy, a silent enemy, one that moves with such speed. I think all Victorians appreciate that we’re in a different phase now and everyone’s got to play their part. And if you have symptoms, you’ve got to get tested. If you’ve been tested, you’ve got to wait for your result at home. You can’t go to work. If you’re positive, you’ve got to isolate. If you’re the close contact of someone who’s positive, you’ve got to isolate. I couldn’t be more serious. And if we want this to be over, and if you want to avoid a fine, and if you want to protect your family and every family, then you’ve got to follow the rules. That’s why we’re so grateful to the vast majority of people who are, and it would seem a growing number of people who are.

Reporter: (52:59)
[inaudible 00:52:59] to put out rules as this evolves, that’s not a criticism, the situation’s rapidly changing-

Daniel Andrews: (52:59)
You’re allowed to criticize, that’s fine.

Reporter: (53:00)
Yeah have to make up these rules-

Daniel Andrews: (53:03)
We do.

Reporter: (53:14)
Are you confident that you are having the conversations with industry such as retail, construction, the real people in those industries, to preserve jobs on the other end of this?

Daniel Andrews: (53:22)
Certainly. One of the greatest challenges is when you’re doing things for the very first time, never been done before, there is no how to guide here, there’s no playbook for this rule book. It is genuinely unique work. And it’s very challenging. We are speaking with enormous numbers of people from different industries, whether it be peak bodies. We also, for instance, in a number of these industries, we haven’t just spoken to the peak, we’ve then gone and spoken to large players, smaller players, just to double check, triple check exactly what we think the impacts will be.

Daniel Andrews: (53:57)
Now, does that mean we’ve consulted with everybody? Obviously not. Does it mean that people, even if the consultation has been impeccable, and I’m very pleased to see Kohl’s and a whole lot of other people out there today saying that they’re very pleased with the way in which my team has worked with them, I’m pleased about that, but does it mean they’re happy? No. I don’t think any business that’s asked to take those steps are happy about it, and that’s not a criticism of them. I can understand that. But this is what we must do. We simply have no choice.

Daniel Andrews: (54:28)
Anybody who wants further clarification, or anybody who wants to have a further discussion with us, of course we’re open to that. And that’s why it’s not like we’ve stopped once these rules come into effect at midnight, Wednesday. We’ve continued those discussions and we will. And indeed some of these changes don’t come in until midnight tonight. And some have even been extended out until Sunday at midnight.

Daniel Andrews: (54:51)
That goes directly to the issue of the earlier question, I think, about when might we start to see changes? The other thing, I know this week is very much seen as a stage four week, but many of these changes have not actually occurred yet, they’ll occur in coming days. And those that have been put in place only come into place midnight, Wednesday evening. So when we’re measuring weeks and two weeks, and the passage of time, we just need to be careful. This week has been a transition week. We didn’t pull this up with only a moments notice, with the exception of course, of the curfew, which came in straight away on Sunday evening.

Reporter: (55:30)
They’re describing it as a diabolical situation. The retail sector [inaudible 00:00:55:36], do you agree that it is diabolical?

Daniel Andrews: (55:38)
I would certainly say these are challenges the likes of which we’ve never faced before. And there are a number of industries that will feel it in a more acute way than others. We’ll be there to support each of those, we’ll be there to work as hard as we can in partnership with those industries, with those businesses, with those families and those workers. That’s what we’ve always done. It’s what we always will do. And there will be a massive job of work to do to repair the damage that we’ve simply had to do to the economy in order to get the health problem fixed and to get these numbers down to a level where we can start to open up again.

Reporter: (56:12)
Sorry, just falling up with point about the [inaudible 00:14:15] industry, real estate industries seems to [inaudible 00:56:21].

Daniel Andrews: (56:23)
Well, auctions go online. Auction houses are closed. I’m not expecting any real estate agent to be particularly happy about that. I’m not expecting any person wanting to sell a house necessarily to be happy with that either. That’s just what we have to do. We can’t have groups of people, even with pretty low limits. We can’t have people gathering. That’s not conducive with getting those numbers down. If there’s a specific issue, if there’s a need for us to engage again, I’m more than happy to have a member of the team follow that up.

Reporter: (56:52)
In these uncertain, unprecedented times, do people just need to be patient?

Daniel Andrews: (57:00)
Oh, well I’m not going to be lecturing people like that. What I would say is this, this is what is necessary. It’s never been done before. It cannot be made perfect. It will always be imperfect. But any challenges, any imperfections in those rules are not for the lack of effort. And they’re not for the want of trying. Everyone is working very, very hard. And again, we’ve always been upfront about this, that there would potentially need to be changes, refinements, further work done, and we’re open to that. And that’s why it isn’t as if we had some conversations and then just stopped, put the rules in place and then you can’t talk to us. We are engaging and will continue to engage. And I think there’s been some very positive feedback today from a number of very big players and I’m grateful for that.

Daniel Andrews: (57:44)
But I’m not for a moment pretending that people are happy to have to tell their staff to go home and not come back for six weeks. I’m not for a moment pretending that any business likes to have less customers rather than more, less profit rather than more, that’s really challenging. Really, really challenging. And that’s why we’ve got to fix this health problem. If we don’t get these numbers down, then we simply won’t be able to open up. And that economic damage I think is altogether higher, it’s more. And that’s when we get into these issues about the other side and people not being able to reboot, not being able to be on that journey of rebuilding.

Daniel Andrews: (58:20)
If this goes on almost indefinitely, then it’s not about closing businesses for a period of time, it’s closing them for good. I don’t want that. I want businesses to survive. I want workers back at work. I want people to have the stability and security that comes with the job. I’ve spent every day in the job I’ve got trying to create jobs, trying to build the things that we need, trying to change our state for the better. I don’t want this. I want us to get past this. And the only way we can do that is if we get those numbers down.

Reporter: (58:49)
Yesterday, [inaudible 00:58:49] that you weren’t sure who was responsible [inaudible 00:17:03]. I just wanted to know have you made your own internal inquiries over the weekend to find out who should be held accountable?

Daniel Andrews: (59:08)
Well, what I’d say to you is yesterday I made some points in, I think, fairly general terms that these matters were not for me to determine. I’m not going to grade my own paper. I’m not going to mark my own exam. That’s a metaphor. Judge Coach is doing that work. And I think we can all be confident that she’s a person who’s got a lifetime worth of skill and experience, broad terms of reference of budget that she needs, and any assistance that she needs she’ll get.

Daniel Andrews: (59:31)
In terms of the best way, I think, to definitively deal with your question though, and I understand where the question comes from, this program is not running. This program has been suspended. Those Victorians, or others who might’ve flown home through Victoria, and there’s more than 20,000 of those people that were part of our hotel quarantine program, that’s not running anymore. We’ve got a much smaller number of people who, for instance, were in housing commission, some of those large towers, they needed to move out of their apartment to protect their family for instance. There are some other hotels for heroes program for nurses and others. This is a tiny fraction of the program that was there.

Daniel Andrews: (01:00:08)
So I suppose that answers your question, there’s no need for me to necessarily be pretending to be a retired judge on this matter. We’ve shut it down. To the extent that it’s still working, it’s been reset to Corrections of Victoria, with where appropriate Victoria police support. That’s how it works. But all those flights they’re going to Sydney, they’re going to Adelaide, they’re going to other parts of the country. And that’s exactly why when I was thanking First Minister colleagues for their support today, that was one of the points that I made.

Reporter: (01:00:38)
I do understand that, have you made your own inquiries?

Daniel Andrews: (01:00:43)
Well, no, what I’ve done is said I’m not going to make assessments of myself. I’m instead going to refer that to a judicial inquiry and have them do that work at arms length from the government. I suppose if I can put it another way to you, as I understand it, there’s a 100,000 plus pages of documents that have gone to Judge Coat. I’m more than happy to concede I have not read 100,000 pages of documents in relation to this matter. I wouldn’t have time to do that. That’s why we’ve set up a process that’s well away from government to essentially sit in judgment of all of those that were involved in this.

Reporter: (01:01:20)
[inaudible 01:01:20] was quite emotional about what’s happening in Victoria and said, ” This all could have been avoided.” What do you say to that?

Daniel Andrews: (01:01:30)
Well, this is a wildly infectious virus. A wildly infectious virus, and there are second waves in countries right around the world.

Reporter: (01:01:37)
[inaudible 00:19:40].

Daniel Andrews: (01:01:40)
Well, I haven’t seen his comments. And of course I would always want to see his comments before I started being a commentator on them. We’ve all got a job to do and we’re all focused on doing that job. And I’m very grateful to the Federal Treasurer, to the PM, to others in his team who work very closely with us. These are not the circumstances that we wanted to find ourselves in, but none of us have the luxury, none of us. Regardless of the office we hold, none of us have the luxury of failing to recognize or to acknowledge the reality of the circumstances we’re in. This is where we are. And we’ve got to make these terribly difficult decisions, heartbreaking decisions, in order to drive down the movement and then drive down the number of cases so that we can get to the other side of this. As I said, I haven’t seen those comments. This is a very difficult day. This is a very difficult year in many, many ways. But we’ve got a clear strategy and now we’ve all got to see this through in terms of following those rules, playing our part, doing the things that have to be done to get to the other side of this. None of us have the luxury of being able to pretend that the reality we confront is not real. This is very real. It could not be more real. Is it a big challenge? Yes. It’s the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced. But I think we’re-

Daniel Andrews: (01:03:03)
A big challenge, yes, it’s the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced, but I think we’re equal to it, I think Victorians and Australians are equal to this. We will get through this and we’ll only get there by all of us working together, neighbors, and friends, and family, workmates, teammates, governments, even if they are of a different political color, that’s my priority, getting the job done.

Speaker 9: (01:03:25)
There’s now 20,000 Victorians flying to Queensland to move there, how do you… What are your thoughts on Victorians feeling like they can’t live here anymore?

Daniel Andrews: (01:03:33)
Well, again, I think there’s a… There are some reports of that, I don’t know how accurate those reports are. Again, I’m not so much a commentator on the real estate marketing in Queensland, I am exclusively focused on getting those numbers down. That’s what I have to do, that’s the job I have, and that’s the work that I’m doing.

Speaker 9: (01:03:52)
[crosstalk 01:03:52] announcements made overnight, a few changes to jobs specifically because of the situation Victoria finds itself in, [crosstalk 01:04:00].

Speaker 10: (01:03:58)
[crosstalk 01:03:52].

Daniel Andrews: (01:04:00)
No, I think it’s very important to acknowledge that the JobKeeper program and JobSeeker are national programs, they are targeted towards hardship wherever that hardship presents. And there are businesses I know, not just in Victoria but in other parts of the country, who will benefit from the changes that the prime minister and the treasurer have announced, I welcome those, I think that is very important. I’ve always… I’ve been very clear about how critical JobKepper and the adjusted, right? Of JobSeeker is, and I’m sure that businesses and workers, and certainly, our government, me personally, we are very grateful for that.

Speaker 2: (01:04:35)
[inaudible 00:01:35], how important is it going to be for Victoria? And is the state government planning any more stimulus to support businesses?

Daniel Andrews: (01:04:44)
So, a stimulus will come in the budget, that’s later on in the year. Obviously at the moment, it’s less about trying to provide businesses with customers, we know that these restrictions just make that incredibly difficult, it’s about trying to provide them with not so much stimulus but the important survival payments. And that’s why we’re working as hard as we possibly can to push those payments out, to get them made, it’s a big team. We’ll have more to say about all sorts of different supports for businesses, for families, for workers. But the stimulus side of things, we’ve already done $2.7 billion worth of smaller projects, that’s to help the smaller players. We’ll have much more to say in terms of a whole range of other programs and projects and policy decisions that we’ll make in the budget, but that’ll be later on in the year.

Daniel Andrews: (01:05:31)
Again, we’ve got to get this stabilized, we’ve got to drive those numbers down to a containable level so that we can reopen and then start to see more and more economic activity. We’ve got to deal with this health problem first, and then we can deal with… With more effort than ever, we’ll get on and won’t my waste any time in supporting those businesses, but that’s going to take longer.

Speaker 2: (01:05:54)
[inaudible 01:05:54].

Daniel Andrews: (01:05:58)
Well, again, I’m not here today to make any further announcements about business support. But, we, as I think we’ve had a few questions today and I’d hope there was no doubt in anyone’s mind, that we’re engaging with businesses from every sector, from every part of the state, we are well attuned and well… We well understand the many challenges, the grief and loss, the pain, that those businesses are currently dealing with and their workers, and that’s why we will have much more to say when it comes to providing support. Again, business support, there’s already quite a lot of that has occurred, payments are literally being made now, and then there will be all sorts of other ways in which we can support more economic activity, purchasing locally, continuing the big agenda. We’ve prided ourselves on the biggest construction agenda this state has ever seen, there’s just no… There’s no debate about that, it is the biggest construction agenda this state has ever seen.

Daniel Andrews: (01:06:51)
And those jobs, that activity, has probably never been more important than it is now. So, we’ll need to do more of that, we’ll need to add to that. And we’ll also have to deal with a range of other issues. I’ve said a few times, it isn’t for now, but we will come back to this. This Issue of insecure work, this pandemic has exposed just how fragile the financial arrangements and employment arrangements of hundreds of thousands of Victorians are, and it’s no good for public health, it’s no good for much at all, actually, so there’s a need for us to come back to that issue. I’ve said many times at both national cabinet level and I think from this podium, a prolonged period of higher than expected unemployment is a terrible thing, it’s a very challenging thing. Our whole nation is going to have to go through that.

Daniel Andrews: (01:07:37)
But that means, in my judgment, in a period like that, there’s no excuse to be having skill shortages at the end of that. So, we need to make sure that training and support, and that’s why some recent announcements and partnerships with the Commonwealth have been really very important. So, there’ll be a lot of things that are not necessarily the next six weeks or even the next six months, it’s going to need to be a longer term effort. And whether you call that reform or not, I just think it makes common sense. The things that really become acutely understood as problems and weaknesses, then we should all redouble our efforts to deal with them.

Speaker 11: (01:08:10)
Is the federal government like you concerned about access to data or not getting enough data from public health officials? And are you confident that data is being provided now?

Daniel Andrews: (01:08:19)
I wouldn’t say that. What I’d say is that there was a decision of national cabinet a couple of weeks ago at our last meeting, so two weeks ago today, that there would be a national dashboard in relation to a number of key metrics, that principally relate to contact tracing, and we’ve provided all of our data in time. And despite our volumes, it’s data that is a credit to the 2,400 people who are working literally 24/7 doing that important work. So, we’re getting to all of our cases within 24 hours, we’re getting to… Only a tiny number of people that we’re not to because they’re not answering the phone for instance, or they can’t be found where they ought to be or where we believe they ought to be. It’s a massive effort. So, we’re sharing as much data as we can possibly share. But that national dashboard just means everybody is in the same place, everyone needs to provide the same data set. And I think that the national public health team are very pleased to have that line of sight, if you like.

Reporter: (01:09:25)
Why did it take until July 24 to set up such a database?

Daniel Andrews: (01:09:27)
Well, that’s a matter of… That’s a decision of national cabinet. Every state is in a different position, every state is working as hard as they can, but I suppose having that all in one place so that everyone can see it, that was just deemed to be the right thing to do.

Reporter: (01:09:43)
[inaudible 00:06:43], do you mind if I ask [crosstalk 01:09:45]?

Daniel Andrews: (01:09:47)
Sure, I don’t mind at all.

Reporter: (01:09:47)
Professor are you confident that you’re providing enough information to the other states about what’s happening in Victoria right now?

Rick: (01:09:57)
Absolutely, I am. I mean, the daily two-hour telephone calls with AHPPC, I’m on those every single day. And I provide our case numbers, our outbreaks, including sensitive information, that’s my daily update to AHPPC. In relation to the dashboard, that information hadn’t been made available because it hadn’t been settled out of the national public health intelligence plan, and we needed to go into our database to understand exactly how to extract those metrics for national reporting purposes. As soon as that was done, that’s been reported up, and it was [Ellen Chang 00:01:10:34] who had it in front of him on the day that it was put together. But-

Reporter: (01:10:40)
[crosstalk 01:10:40] do you refute those claims that Ellen Chang provided more information than needed?

Rick: (01:10:45)
I would provide exactly the same information if it were in my hands to provide. So, yes.

Reporter: (01:10:50)
And, obviously your foreign group [inaudible 01:10:52] on Tuesday, do you know where those rumors… In serial [inaudible 00:07:55], do you know where those rumors would come from, who would have started them? Is there a rift between you and the government?

Rick: (01:11:05)
Absolutely not. I have absolutely no idea… Look, I think there’s color and movement in rumors that people get excited about for its own reason, but it was a complete surprise to me.

Speaker 12: (01:11:14)
[inaudible 01:11:14]-

Reporter: (01:11:14)
And are you confident… Sorry. Are you confident that you will see us through this pandemic?

Rick: (01:11:19)
Yes, we will get through this pandemic, the world we’ll get through this pandemic. But I think we are well positioned in Victoria because we are doing the things that I know are required and the things that I know will work. There is no question that second waves are far more challenging than first waves.

Reporter: (01:11:38)
[crosstalk 00:08:37], will you see us through this pandemic?

Rick: (01:11:39)
I will see us through this pandemic.

Speaker 13: (01:11:41)
[inaudible 01:11:41] is moving [inaudible 01:11:44], are you comfortable with that situation?

Rick: (01:11:50)
Again, private aged care is a Commonwealth regulated and funded area. I think the fact that residents are able to move back will be good for them. Clearly, they need to be meeting the standards in terms of the care and the training and the PPE that those residents deserve and require. But if that is in train, I know that the Victorian aged care response send out will be totally focused on making sure that that’s coordinated between our acute care setting and that… And some bezels. But, if it’s happening, it means everyone is working together to make sure it’s meeting appropriate standards.

Speaker 14: (01:12:31)
Should the federal government be doing more in aged care [inaudible 01:12:33]?

Rick: (01:12:35)
Oh, I think the federal government is working very closely with us now, and everyone is totally committed to making sure that it works in the best way possible. There are clearly inherent vulnerabilities with an aged population in close quarters with a workforce that have actually come from our at risk population with this pandemic, though that was a perfect storm of vulnerabilities and risks coming together. But I think the fact that we’re all in the state control center, talking through this every single day, is a very positive development.

Speaker 14: (01:13:08)
2600 other people [inaudible 01:13:09], are they mainly [inaudible 01:13:13]?

Rick: (01:13:21)
There are a significant number who have been decanted to acute care from aged care settings, but there are a number of others who are in their ’50s and ’60s who are getting more severe illness because of being in that age cohort, who are hospitalized for that reason. So, it’s not all ’80, ’90 plus residents of aged care, there are certainly elderly members of the community outside of those settings who’ve been hospitalized because they’ve got severe illness.

Speaker 14: (01:13:46)
And that 30 year old who died, is that [inaudible 01:13:50]?

Rick: (01:13:54)
Those elements aren’t actually reported to me, I’m focused on the public health response about transmission of coronavirus, those will be matters for the clinical teams that are engaged in that care. So, it’s not even information that I receive.

Speaker 14: (01:14:08)
We saw yesterday with the [inaudible 01:14:09], are they going to take a lot longer than the rest [inaudible 01:14:15] to come down? I mean, [inaudible 01:14:18].

Rick: (01:14:22)
Yeah. I think that the postcodes with the most significant transmission and the biggest case numbers, will be our biggest challenges. But, we’re aware of the data that tells us that that’s an area to focus on in terms of engagement, in terms of understanding the population there, in terms of understanding where transmission is occurring, and we’ll have to work especially hard in those areas. But they may be the hardest to shift, postcodes with respect to transmission, but we know where they are, and we know that we need to engage very closely with the communities to make sure that they can turn it around.

Speaker 2: (01:14:53)
[Rick 01:14:53], are you keeping data on the time between when someone tests positive [inaudible 01:14:58] contact tracing for all their contacts is completed? And if so, what is the average time [inaudible 01:15:03]?

Rick: (01:15:05)
We are tracking all of those steps from the time that someone is tested to the time that it’s received by the laboratory, that that is processed, that the result comes through to us. We’re working on each and every one of those steps to minimize the time as much as possible, including increasing the frequency of couriers to take those tests to the private labs. The private labs are working to make sure that they’re distributing the work appropriately across all of the labs working in Melbourne to minimize that time. For reporting into our database, we’re looking at any of the bottlenecks that might occur there. At the moment, the thing that I’m most satisfied with is that, as soon as we’ve got notification of those cases, that those calls are happening immediately, but we have to look at each and every one of those steps. We do have the metrics, I don’t have it at hand.

Speaker 2: (01:15:52)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). There are reports that it takes seven, eight, nine, ten days, from when someone tests to [inaudible 01:15:57] contacts being [inaudible 00:01:15:58], do you have an average time of what that is [inaudible 01:16:02]?

Rick: (01:16:03)
I don’t know the average time for time of testing to time of follow-up with contact tracing, but I can look into it and try and get it for you. There will always be a distribution curve for these individuals. So, the average time, for example, in getting a positive test result back being under two days is one element, but there’ll be individuals who are on the longer tail of that. We want to minimize that as much as possible, but it is that average time that’s most important from a response perspective.

Speaker 2: (01:16:41)
With some [inaudible 01:16:42] deputy chief health officers coming in, is that a chance [inaudible 01:16:42] to kind of embrace it and look at how you’re doing things and have you change anything [inaudible 00:13:40]?

Rick: (01:16:41)
We’ve been changing… We’ve been looking at how we do things and changing it from day dos. The fact that we’ve got some very experienced infectious disease and other public health professionals in the team is absolutely an opportunity to bring fresh eyes to all of our processes, but also to bring their clinical experience about how we’re working with health services to do our key work in the best way possible.

Speaker 2: (01:17:06)
[inaudible 01:17:06].

Rick: (01:17:13)
I don’t know. I can-

Speaker 2: (01:17:15)
[inaudible 01:17:15] situation [inaudible 01:17:18].

Rick: (01:17:20)
Yeah. We’ve named all about outbreaks where those outbreaks have occurred on all four, openness around that reporting.

Speaker 2: (01:17:36)
So, [inaudible 01:17:28].

Rick: (01:17:36)
I think so.

Speaker 2: (01:17:36)
Thank you.

Speaker 15: (01:17:36)
Just a question on hotel quarantine, it might be yesterday [inaudible 01:17:36] said that there’s no problem in making comments [inaudible 01:17:37], will you just clarify when you were first made aware there were problems in those hotels?

Rick: (01:17:45)
I knew about problems in hotel quarantine when it was in the media.

Speaker 15: (01:17:50)
Is that how you found out?

Rick: (01:17:50)
Well, obviously, we were aware of outbreaks at the Stamford Hotel and Rydges Hotel that my public health team responded to as outbreaks, so we were aware of the transmission that occurred. But in terms of other rumors and reporting around deficiencies with the workforce in those settings, the first I heard was when I read it in the newspapers.

Speaker 15: (01:18:13)
So, when did it become clear to you that it was the hotels [inaudible 01:18:17]?

Rick: (01:18:19)
Well, when the genomics report came through was when I was aware that a very significant proportion of our current cases were linked to hotel quarantine.

Speaker 15: (01:18:29)
Did you suspect it could have been hotels before that?

Rick: (01:18:31)
No, I didn’t really. I mean, it was information that was only available when that genomics report was through. We didn’t have the epidemiological links back to hotel quarantine that that allowed us to link all of those cases.

Speaker 16: (01:18:49)
Rick, did you [inaudible 01:18:52] of community transmission before these hotel cases?

Rick: (01:18:55)
It’s impossible to say. We’ve got genomics for many cases in Victoria at the moment, there’s no evidence of original virus in the genomics reports. But we haven’t tested everyone, not everyone can have the virus growing, for those who can have the virus growing, not everyone gets that genetic fingerprint. So, we can’t say for those individuals where we haven’t got the genetic fingerprint, but where we do there, isn’t evidence of a virus that goes back to February, March, April.

Speaker 16: (01:19:28)
Can you say how much you link to the Rydges Hotel versus the Stamford outbreak?

Rick: (01:19:33)
Yeah. Look, I don’t know the proportions. I think the Stamford outbreak was more contained, but I don’t know the proportions.

Rich: (01:19:41)
[inaudible 01:19:41] child care [inaudible 01:19:43]. We’re getting reports on child care that some permits are being forged, how is that being [inaudible 00:16:54]?

Daniel Andrews: (01:19:57)
Well, we’ll look at how this unfolds. And if people are doing the wrong thing, then we will have no choice but to tighten that up, I don’t want it to get to that point. We’ve made some changes. I think we started where we were going to have, essentially, this sector closed down, we then listened and made some changes, we always said we would develop some guidelines, we couldn’t necessarily answer every question last Sunday when we first flagged this. But, the permits are very important to make sure that people are doing the right thing, that we’re not putting staff in really difficult circumstances where they’ve got to be interrogating people.

Daniel Andrews: (01:20:38)
It’s also… We don’t want a situation where moms and dads have to be telling their story a hundred times, we want this to be as simple as possible. And I’ll just say to anybody who’s out there potentially trying to undermine that, that’s very bad choices. I don’t want to have to change those settings. And I also don’t want to have to be wasting police time and other precious law enforcement time that are about enforcing the rules in a broader sense, curfews and things of that nature, I don’t want their tasks to be any more difficult or challenging than it already is.

Rich: (01:21:13)
[inaudible 01:21:13] talk to us [inaudible 01:21:16].

Daniel Andrews: (01:21:18)
No, I’ll be here tomorrow and I’ll be here Sunday as well. [Rich 00:01:21:20], ultimately, this virus doesn’t stop and neither do I, and neither does the team of thousands and thousands of people that I am honored and privileged to lead. They are working so hard for all Victorians, they’re doing their best. None of this can ever be perfect, we know and understand that. But everyone in the team, and it’s thousands of people, they are working really hard and I’m proud of them. And I’m also very proud and very grateful to Victorians who are doing the right thing.

Daniel Andrews: (01:21:45)
And I think the percentage of people who are doing the right thing is actually going up, and that’s exactly what we need if we’re going to beat this thing, if we’re going to get it back to those very low level so we can open up again and not have a third wave. This is… The strategy has to work, we’ve got no alternative. But it only works if we’ve got the vast majority and hopefully everybody, doing the right thing. It’s good to see those numbers, number of people, for instance, it’s only one measure, but it’s good to see the number of people who could be found where they were supposed to be, going up, I think that’s a good thing.

Rich: (01:22:18)
And how are you holding up [inaudible 01:22:20]?

Daniel Andrews: (01:22:21)
Look, you just got to push on, you just got to keep going. It’s not about me, this is about getting the job done, and that’s what we will do, it’s what I’ve always done, push on and get this job done, that is what is most important. But none of us can do it on our own, we need Victorians to work with us. I know there’s pain, I know there’s hurt, I know it’s really challenging, but if… There’s no other way. If there was another way, we’d be doing that, but there is no other way. We’ve got to drive down movement, that’ll drive down case numbers, then we can get past this, and we can start opening up, we can start rebuilding, we can start to recover. And we’ll be there delivering budgets that are about skills and strength and jobs, and Victoria leading the way as we always do. Any other issues? I’ll see you tomorrow.