Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says distressing images of children rushed to hospital from a quarantine hotel are a reminder that people of all ages can contract coronavirus.
Footage showed the children being stretchered from the Sydney Hilton hotel last night to ambulances by paramedics wearing protective clothing. While it has not been officially confirmed, it is believed they had contracted COVID 19.
“But, yes, for those three kids, I hope they will recover quickly.”
Prof Kelly said while he could not comment on individual cases, the scenes were a reminder the COVID 19 can infect young people not just the elderly – who make up most serious cases.
The first 288 Australians quarantined in Sydney’s Swissotel started leaving this morning.
Prof Kelly said some people had tested positive during quarantine and had been treated in hospital. But he confirmed there have been no cases of person-to-person transmissions inside the hotels used for quarantine.
And he says health authorities are bracing for new overseas arrivals.
“We’re still seeing groups of Australians being evacuated from cruise ships and so forth from all around the world, so these are continuing to be something that we need to take very seriously, and make sure that firstly they’re cared for and secondly, that they’re not spreading the virus in other parts of the country.”
Prof Kelly stressed it was vital to continue stringent social distancing measures amid reports the NSW Government is considering relaxing some as soon as next month.
He pointed to modelling released yesterday that showed “catastrophic” infection rates without the measures.
“What we’re trying to do is to decrease the number of cases that are being – that are being seen, and the modelling, again, just to come back to that from yesterday, demonstrate what is would’ve happened if we hadn’t taken those steps. It would’ve been absolutely catastrophic.
“Up to 30 per cent of Australians may have got sick sand in hospital, and the death rate would’ve been extremely high.”
Prof Kelly said a successful vaccine was the best weapon to stem the pandemic but it was still up to 18 months away.
“There are several candidate vaccines already in development, and being tested in their first phase of testing around their first phase of testing around the world, including here in Australia.”
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