Acting chief medical officer says live music events 'long way off'

Acting chief medical officer says live music events 'long way off'

Australia’s top medical officer has spoken about when live music events could return - and it’s not any time soon.

It comes after Australia recorded 353 new infections in the past 24 hours – with all the cases linked to Victoria and New South Wales – where 331 and 22 were confirmed.

“On music events, firstly an apology particularly to the younger members of our community and I would include my children in that who find these events so attractive and such fun,” Professor Paul Kelly said.

“I did - and still do - actually like live music.

“We are looking at the particular issues in relation to music events and when you think about it, they are relatively high risk.

“Large numbers of people, often multi-day events, lots of close contact, dancing and singing and so forth, all of these things are higher risk than some other mass gatherings, so they have a particular component to them and at the moment I must admit it is not front of mind.

“In terms of what Western Australia or even the NT for example may decide to do, of course they can do their own developments within those states which have had less cases and continue to have less cases. They are wary. They have seen what‘s happened in Victoria which virtually eliminated the virus just as recently as six or seven weeks ago and how happily that can develop. It‘s a cautious approach at the moment and in terms of specific advice or planning, it’s not happening right now.”

Prof Kelly said Victoria’s precarious coronavirus situation had “stabilised” in the past few days.

“We’ve seen stabilisation in last few days and it’s what we would expect in relation to new restrictions and stage four lockdown in Melbourne,” he said.

Prof Kelly backed the country’s response to aged-care outbreaks despite deaths in the sector continuing to rise, with 14 of Victoria’s 19 overnight deaths linked to aged-care.

“We have been planning for our aged population as a vulnerable group since the start of planning for the COVID-19 response. The first reports coming out of China in January led to an emergency response plan and that plan specifically mentions those vulnerable groups and the specifics in relation to aged-care,” professor Paul Kelly said.

“Aged-care outbreaks have occurred wherever community transmission has occurred. The US has had over 50,000 deaths related to aged-care, the UK has had 16,000 deaths and in Australia we’ve had 220 so I think people can make their own decisions about whether we are the worst in the world.”

Prof Kelly said the world hit another “unfortunate milestone” overnight, with coronavirus cases surpassing 20 million and more than 734,000 people dying from the deadly infection.

“It’s an extraordinary number of cases,” he said.

“We’re better off than many other places in the world but continue to see more cases in Australia.”

in Victoria, a woman in her 50s, a man in his 70s, six women and four men in their 80s, four women and three men in their 90s died in the past 24 hours.