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A frosty exchange between a tired state Covid chief and a prominent journalist threatened to explode into a public shouting match on Wednesday.
A visibly annoyed Nicola Spurrier, South Australian Chief Public Health Officer, refused to answer questions from political commentator Chris Kenny when the Sky News journalist challenged her over a target for getting 80 per cent of the public vaccinated.
Professor Spurrier unloaded on Kenny, saying she wasn’t here ‘to have an argument with you’ – then ignored his follow-up question, preferring instead to answer a bizarre question about whether a dog could catch Covid.
South Australian Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier admitted being ‘tired’ when she lashed out at Sky News commentator Chris Kenny and ignored his question about vaccination rates on Wednesday
Sky News commentator Chris Kenny was pushing the SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier on whether the target of 80 per cent public vaccination rates were necessary given Covid-19 was having a mild impact on people outside vulnerable demographics
The first case was a miner, in his 30s, who worked at a Northern Territory mine linked to an outbreak. His wife and four children then tested positive.
The family – and their dog – were moved to a quarantine facility.
On Wednesday South Australian Premier Steven Marshall confirmed the State had seen five new cases of Covid-19 but that it would not yet go into lockdown.
A Covid-infected nurse who worked at two busy hospitals in Sydney has 100 close contacts already identified, with wards now blocked off from visitors
New South Wales Health confirmed a student nurse, 24, worked at the Royal North Shore hospital for five days while potentially carrying the virus and also did shifts at the Fairfield hospital. Pictured: Covid testing in Sydney
New South Wales is five days into a hard two week lockdown and recorded 22 new Covid-19 cases overnight, bringing its total to 171 active cases.
One hundred patients and staff at two Sydney hospitals are in isolation after a 24-year-old unvaccinated student nurse tested positive to COVID-19. She worked at Fairfield Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital while infectious.
Queensland has 18 cases, and Victoria 34, the Northern territory has nine cases and Western Australia four.
It was the second time in this month that South Australian Professor Spurrier has made headlines over her public statements regarding Covid.
South Australia recorded five new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, originating with a miner who contracted the virus and passed it onto his family. Because the family self-isolated the State did not go into lockdown
Figures released by NSW Health show how the virulent strain of the Covid-19 virus grew from one confirmed case at Bondi on June 16, to a cluster there, then began to rapidly spill into suburbs across Sydney and beyond
She sparked bewilderment and ridicule at the start of June after advising footy fans to ‘duck’ if the ball comes near them in the crowd and avoid touching it because it could be contaminated by Covid-19.
In the latest scene, Kenny fired off several complex questions at a press conference on Wednesday, before rattled Professor Spurrier stopped him saying she wanted one question at a time because ‘I’ve had very little sleep’.
She repeated the view that a high level of vaccinations were necessary because the Indian Delta variant has a ‘biological advantage’ and ‘is more difficult to control’.
Is an 80% vaccination rate for the public achievable?
Claims no country has reached 80 per cent vaccinations are not correct.
Several countries have already seen higher vaccination rates, including nations that have administered more than 100 doses of Covid vaccine given per 100 people, including Israel and the United Kingdom.
The United States has a rate of 97 vaccine doses administered per 100 people.
That rate is is reached by counting people who have had two doses.
By this measure, Australia’s rate of vaccinations per 100 people is 28.73, well below the world average but just above India.
New Zealand is even lower.
In the United Kingdom 83 per cent of citizens have at least their first dose as at June 23.
Kenny challenged the view that it was necessary to vaccinate 80 per cent of public before public health experts stopped threatening economically damaging lockdowns, a figure previously given by NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian.
‘Doesn’t that seem unreasonably high, given that no country has got to that level, we may not ever get to that level, and because of the very mild health threat the disease poses to anyone outside those vulnerable groups?’ he said.
‘I really find it quite surprising to be at a press conference and have somebody suggest that there are very minor consequences to Covid 19,’ a clearly irritated Professor Spurrier replied.
‘We still have many many people dying around the world and we’ve also had four deaths here in Australia.’
Kenny countered that, by his estimates, ‘there’s not been one community transmission that has led to death in this country all year.’
That was enough for Professor Spurrier to hit back.
‘Excuse me, I’m here to provide information to the South Australian public, not to have an argument with you over a minor point.’
Kenny asked another follow-up question – but the SA Chief Health Minister moved on answer a question about the infected family, which apparently has a pregnant dog.
‘We always come across hiccups,’ Professor Spurrier said, instead of responding to Kenny.
‘This family, they have a very nice dog. But the dog is pregnant, so I have a team looking after the dog.’
Source: Daily Mail