Coronavirus Australia live updates: Victoria records one new Covid case as national cabinet eyes Christmas reopening | Australia news














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China’s ambassador to Australia compares Abetz to Goebbels

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Victoria records one new case

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In the question and answer section of the online address to the Australian Public Health Conference, Prof Brett Sutton responded to online criticism and some of the disinformation and misinformation online.

People are “precious about the lockdown and that’s understandable,” Sutton said. He said people had been awfully and personally affected by the lockdown and had very personal experiences of it, which they were sharing online. But he added:

Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton.

Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton. Photograph: Erik Anderson/AAP


I do return to the fact that as scientists, as empiricists we have to speak to what the evidence is saying. I think we have to recognise that there is no absolute clear, right, single pathway. We’re all trying to find the best way through this. But we have to be frank and fearless in the advice that we give and stick to that expert, broad input from from the public health community. But the fact that we were dealing with a novel coronavirus, a newly emergent disease where we’re all learning as we went along … that just opened up the entire world to kind of an armchair commentary with definitive statements about what to do, what not to do, hydroxychloroquine can cure everyone. So much commentary was in retrospect, patently wrong. And I do think that’s part of the miscommunication that you need to acknowledge the uncertainty, but also reference the evidence that is emerging the evidence that you do have, and stuff that goes into your decision making.

He said that it had been “exhausting” and his colleagues and family had been “unbelievably supportive”.


It’s been a really significant burden for so many for so many people in my public health team.

I think we’re all cognisant that that’s, you know, that’s just a small part of a challenge for the whole of Victoria and we need to support each other in the broader sense. There’s a whole Victorian community who’s suffered through this together. And some have had such an awful burden to bear, I think, and for the workforce we’ve just put our nose to the grindstone and and being totally focused on the task, but it is exhausting.

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On Thursday night the chief health officer of Victoria, Prof Brett Sutton, gave an address to the Australian Public Health Conference, speaking about the frontline experience of Covid-19 in Victoria.

He presented alongside Prof Devi Sridhar, the Chair of Global Public Health and Edinburgh University Medical School.

Sutton spoke briefly about the importance of strong leadership in a pandemic, telling attendees: “I hope I played my role in that space.”


I think the critical elements for me have been listening and learning… It is never a case of a single individual having the answers. It is never the case of a single individual being able to make those decisions in a vacuum I have had literally thousands of people in supporting my decision making, and I have been explicit in reaching out as broadly as I can for the critical voices, for the supportive voices, for the innovative ideas, and for all of the new and challenging perspectives that must be brought because we need to mobilise the very best of our team. And we need to regard the team as all of the Victoria, Australia and indeed the global public health community.

Sutton also spoke about public health communication, and the need to tailor messages to different audiences throughout a pandemic. He said risk communication is critical and needs to be engaging to multiple different parts of the community; one message for all people is not good enough.


I think they all need an honest and authentic voice. I think that needs to speak to the things that are working the things that are not working… the things we know, the things we don’t know, but also be motivating where fatigue is so real, where a crisis that would have been tough for a month has been going for nine months. It needs to take people on a journey that they can remain engaged with.

Sutton’s leadership has been under question in recent weeks following his appearance at the hotel quarantine inquiry when he said he had no knowledge of the decision to use security guards in hotel quarantine. The Age revealed last week an email chain showing Sutton had authorised a response to the federal government in March which said Victoria would rely on private security at quarantine hotels.

Sutton has been asked by the inquiry to provide an affidavit answering questions raised by the newly-released emails.

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Good morning

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