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  • We're going to start this morning by talking about the flu and flu

  • vaccinations and when we've dealt with that then we will deal with coronavirus

  • and after that we'll take whatever questions anybody wants to ask on any

  • topic. I am delighted to be here with Dr Chant but also

  • more delighted to be here with Ellie and Rose and Carrie Ann.

  • Would you guys like to come out here please you might if you're out here with

  • me you maybe look a bit better I'd be afraid all right well look obviously

  • we're approaching the the flu season and the government here in NSW

  • have been working very hard to determine how we can improve safety for the

  • community particularly because of obviously other factors that are

  • occurring at the moment in this particular incoming flu season and so

  • today I can announce that the government will be permitting pharmacists across

  • this state no matter where they are to be able to provide the vaccinations and

  • actually give the vaccinations for people under the age of 16 until today

  • until we made this announcement the vaccinations would be given by

  • pharmacists for flu down to the age 16 so we had determined that we should go

  • further and make it vaccinations down to young children at the age of 10 but of

  • course vaccinations are very very important flu vaccinations are very

  • important particularly for vulnerable groups and they can still be done

  • through your general practitioner and should be done particularly this year I

  • would just advise the community and remind the community that particularly

  • those who are over the age of 65 those who are under 5 pregnant women people

  • who perhaps have a other respiratory issues such as asthma should certainly

  • be having the vaccine but my recommendation is Health Minister I'm

  • sure dr. chant supports this is that this season

  • particularly everybody should be ensuring that they get out

  • have a flu shot there's no doubt about it but because of the compounding

  • factors this particular season we're going to see a converging period where

  • the flu season will come upon us and at the same time we're expecting of course

  • the way things are moving at the moment for the corona virus to also be

  • extending its its reach can I say that the flu vaccine of course whilst it's

  • extremely important it's also very very important for the flu and for other of

  • the corona virus as well the people just exercise the usual caution that they

  • should take and I dr. chan if you could pass over if you've got it you've got

  • the notice remind folks that the most important thing you can actually do is

  • either use a hand wash or simply use soap and water constantly be washing

  • your hands in the next few months would help us all we have a major major issue

  • for us all at the moment but it's manageable it is manageable and every

  • person in our community has a role if you've been out in a public place or if

  • you've been somewhere that you might have touched some other you know

  • publicly available banisters or doors or been in trains wash your hands so we got

  • to do soap and water is going to make a huge difference to how we actually

  • approach both the flu season and the corona viruses now we have these two

  • gorgeous young ladies Rosie and Ellie and their wonderful mum Carrie Anne and

  • I'm gonna ask Carrie Ann just to tell us a little bit about what happened when

  • Rosie didn't do so well when she didn't have a flu shot

  • she was under fire at the time she's now a very big girl she's now ten but when

  • she was four they had a very difficult time Karen you okay to come up and

  • explain with the girls and girls you stick with your mum if you just look

  • there's any spot out there and just talk and explain what happened

  • and the girls just before their fourth birthday Ellie got sick with flu we

  • didn't know it was flu we just thought it was a bad cold a couple of days later

  • her sister came down with the same very high fevers very fatigued not eating not

  • drinking very upset tummy cough progressed into a worse cough six

  • days into the illness Ellie turned a corner

  • we expected Rosie to turn a corner a couple of days later that didn't happen

  • she deteriorated until one day I noticed that her eyes were closing she was

  • struggling to breathe took her to emergency at the wrong North Shore they

  • put her on oxygen they said that her lungs were almost

  • 100% consolidated and within 48 hours she was intubated and moved by ambulance

  • to Sydney kids hospital she was intubated for ten days she was in ICU

  • for two weeks we were absolutely delighted that she pulled through

  • because we were told several times that she might not live and she had extreme

  • reactions to the medication because she was intubated for so long so it took us

  • three months to wean her off the medication and it took us six months to

  • recover fully she'd lost a quarter of her body weight she couldn't walk and

  • she's now shorter than her sister her immune system was was impacted for some

  • time but we're really grateful that she's alive because of the fantastic

  • support that we had from the doctors and nurses at Sydney kids hospital when I

  • kept asking why us why us how did this happen because they were very healthy

  • before it happened the doctors kept asking me if I'd had the children

  • vaccinated I didn't know that you could get vaccines for children and I would

  • have hands-down preferred a vaccination than been sitting in ICU hospital

  • wondering if she was going to pull through that hour that day that week so

  • I made a promise to the doctors that I would get them vaccinated every year

  • which they don't like but they have it done and our whole family is vaccinated

  • and that's why we're here it's really important to us so they look

  • exactly the same rosy and early but one actually

  • obviously le had it as well and le recovered basically by itself but Rosie

  • ended up with the worst end of the for the flu virus and Rosie what are you

  • reckon about orally which what do you reckon everybody should make sure they

  • go and have a sick if they do catch pretty good so thank you very much what

  • do you reckon le yeah so wash your hands and a flu vaccine the best ambassadors

  • for the residents of New South Wales thank you so much ladies I really

  • appreciate you help thanks very much Kevin thank you

  • you can just take it you fantastic ten years old I amazing please don't run

  • against me too soon all right now so that's the the issue of the flu vaccine

  • and we'll deal with that if there are any questions in due course but will now

  • deal with coronavirus obviously the situation remains unfolding world that's

  • don't you agree

  • tell me when you're ready you're okay thanks very much

  • obviously the situation remains unfolding worldwide and indeed here in

  • Australia Australia so far though is doing a lot better than most other

  • countries and we are hoping that we can continue to do a lot better

  • particularly with the help of the community and taking the appropriate

  • steps to protect themselves as that today in New South Wales we have six

  • confirmed cases of the covert 19 in the corona virus novel coronavirus and we

  • have another just over 80 that are currently being reviewed tested and

  • that's a rolling number it varies I said yesterday it was about 300 but there's

  • been tests that have shown that the bulk of those people all those people

  • actually have been cleared and of course there's 80 odd remaining the the two

  • additional ones everybody's aware of the original for folks who had the novel

  • coronavirus kravid 19 and everywhere I think is aware at this point that those

  • people recovered three of them quicker than the fourth but nevertheless in the

  • end the fourth one recovered and they're all out of hospital the other two who

  • have come in just in more recent days are both from both travelled from Iran

  • one of them came in on the 22nd of February there was a 40 year old male

  • and he started to get symptoms a couple of days after he arrived and tests

  • couple days after that confirmed that he had the carbon 19 virus we also have a

  • 50 year old one who came in on the 23rd of February and again a similar similar

  • situation except that she started to feel some of the symptoms almost

  • immediately upon arrival so she was tested as well

  • and has been confirmed and both of those are now in hospital in regard to the

  • First Gentleman the 40 year old we have two of his close contacts that are in

  • quarantine and another six I think that are actually in isolation two are in

  • hospital while we did further tests the other six are in self-isolation the 50

  • year old lady came in though on a cata flight on the 23rd of February arrived

  • at 6:50 p.m. at Sydney Airport it was flight 908 I in flight 908 Kat

  • our cue our 908 and we are currently making investigations as to precisely

  • the location that she was occupied in occupying in the plane and we're also

  • looking at trying to ensure that we reach out through the border force

  • details and we can access to to contact the various people who are sitting in

  • her immediate vicinity and I'll ask dr. Chen in a moment to expand on how many

  • rows we're looking at there but my message is the Health Minister is that

  • anybody on that flight QR 908 that arrived on the 23rd of February at 6:50

  • p.m. into Sydney Airport should be very aware that there was somebody on their

  • flight who had the corona virus and if they do have any of the symptoms then

  • that we will come very familiar with flu-like symptoms effectively then you

  • should get along to your doctor if you have any doubts any thoughts that it

  • might be the crown of iris please ring ahead to your GP or ring head to your

  • local emergency department so they're aware and contact the appropriate steps

  • just to keep everybody safe but of course is trained in health system and

  • particularly New South Wales health demand entire health system here in this

  • country is doing an extraordinary job to look after people and we would

  • anticipate that if you do come forward you'll be extremely well looked after

  • can I ask dr. chan to expand on any aspects of that and then we'll take some

  • questions on that can I just say at the moment whilst there are other as I said

  • just over eighty Bank being still tested there's

  • no case that we're aware of beyond the six that I've just referred to but of

  • course it is a an unfolding situation again I'd say to the community New South

  • Wales health the Commonwealth Health Department all of the state and

  • territory health departments can only do so much

  • but we're confident that provided we have a partnership with the community

  • will we'll get through this appropriately and so I'm just asking

  • again for people to realise the importance of using hand wash and also

  • there's if you haven't got hand wash use soap and water and use it frequently and

  • do the basics if you're sneezing or coughing cough into your elbow don't

  • cough into your hand and then touch other things and and just make sure that

  • if you've got a temperature a cough or any other spiritual issues you do get

  • along as I've described to be assessed by a general practitioner or by the

  • emergency department of your hospital now I'm going to ask dr. chant who at

  • this stage is very tired having been dealing with us now for quite some weeks

  • but I'm going to ask her to make any further comments to add to anything I

  • might have important them or both of us take questions dr. Chen Thank You

  • minister just in reference to your question about the plane so we are

  • reaching out directly to the airline as also is through the NAT of the usual way

  • in which we get the border cards through border force and through the National

  • incident room but we have released details of the plane and as me as

  • minister said if anyone on that plane develops any symptoms they should

  • contact their health provider immediately in addition we will be

  • asking those close contacts of the case and that's in in relation to a couple of

  • rows in before and after where the patient was sitting to actually self

  • isolate themselves for 14 days and we will be reaching out as soon as we've

  • got contact details but we have released this information as soon as it became

  • available I would also like to say that we will be announcing and as you can

  • have seen throughout this event we've we've announced the cases as soon as we

  • hear about them within a couple of hours of getting a positive test and making

  • contact and and ascertaining some key information

  • relevant to the media so there will be always times where we have patients that

  • are under investigation but we are committed to publicly releasing the

  • details of confirmed cases very promptly so I thank you for your assistance so

  • those those patients are reasonably well our experience in New South Wales has

  • been our cases have been in the milder spectrum these are obviously in younger

  • people and obviously we know that from our experience internationally and even

  • on in Australia that people with underlying illnesses and particularly

  • the elderly have a more challenging course with this virus then perhaps

  • younger theatre people so so that yes there are hospitalized but they're not

  • requiring intensive care and their condition is stable look I'll just have

  • to check but we had no further test results last night so I'll let you know

  • if there's any new positives but there are known new positives we do runs twice

  • a day so they're sometimes repeat samples and you know that we continue to

  • monitor them you can imagine that we're taking a very cautious approach often

  • people might have a runny nose but if it gets worse we'll rescreen them so you

  • should be assured we're taking a cautious approach in finding any cases

  • the two contacts there were they were a household contact it was just more about

  • the disposition of a family a family group it's often easier to keep them

  • together and for that support as well as diagnostic testing access at Westmead

  • because the labs just on their facility as well

  • you release yesterday yeah so the simple sort of symptoms we look at we were

  • having a very low threshold for testing anyone because we do know that the

  • spectrum of disease is can be anywhere from very mild to the very severe so

  • anyone with a fever runny nose headache sore throat even just a mild a sore

  • throat we have been if there have been a contact of a case we've been screening

  • them to preclude translate that they have the novel coronavirus so we're

  • taking a very precautionary approach to symptoms in any context so at the moment

  • we don't know the details of the of the wedge the patient person was sitting she

  • hasn't got she did not retain a boarding card we're going into the airline and is

  • also as well the National incident room for those seating but we have put out

  • publicly the QR 908 including amplifying that through social media we are getting

  • on to that first thing this morning but we did release those details last last

  • night and encourage people to be watchful of symptoms and there is quite

  • a lot of when we are doing contact tracing on planes etc we know that the

  • media is a very effective way of getting that information out in our subsequent

  • contact tracing exercises on the plane

  • now the international community is learning all the time and we I think

  • there are a number of learnings from the Japanese cruise ship public health

  • official from Australia was actually deployed to Japan and there were also

  • officials from CDC and other international communicable disease

  • control agencies we've shared some of that information and in terms of our

  • response to cruise ships will be incorporating those learnings in our

  • response we would do it differently in light of those learnings so we would not

  • be quarantine everyone on the cruise ship we would also be very clear about

  • some of the issues around the crew and the crews interaction with the patients

  • also we know that this virus can be spread by contact with surfaces

  • particularly it doesn't live for a long time on surfaces but it does live there

  • and as MIT that's why minister saying wash your hands make sure you think so

  • some of those learnings we have reflected upon and it's been actually

  • great how the international community and our communicable disease experts

  • have been sharing that intelligence in real-time so we can actually revise and

  • reflect upon our own planning for those scenarios

  • look we are obviously monitoring critical supplies very closely in our

  • health care system we are have got a centralized procurement agency called

  • health care and we have centralized procurement and then resupply for all

  • our health facilities through that mechanism our CAS are monitoring that

  • and we have secured supplies of masks obviously in a time of competing demand