Dr Ka Chun Tse: Answers most common COVID-19 Questions

Thursday, 25 February 2021


As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, lockdowns are occurring and vaccines emerging, Yarrawonga Health Director of Medical Services, Dr Ka Chun Tse answered some of the most common questions regarding covid-19 and the vaccine.

What is a circuit breaker lockdown and why are they important to containing COVID-19?

Following the leakage of Covid from hotel quarantine in Victoria to the community, Victoria was placed in Stage 4 lockdown from 13 to 17 February.  This action serves two main purposes: to give our contact tracing system time to identify and test everyone who may be exposed to the virus, and to prevent any further spread in the local community.

Why is it important we don’t become complacent even though we have had minimal exposure in regional Victoria?

The lockdown was necessary state-wide because we cannot be certain on 12 February, that local community transmission of Covid was restricted to Melbourne.  For example, consider the fact that Terminal 4 of Melbourne Airport was an exposure site for many hours - there were large numbers of travellers who were exposed who would have ended up in different parts of the state.  It is important that regional Victorians continue to be vigilant after the lockdown, because local community transmission can still occur from a single case and remain unknown for a number of days. This is because Covid infection can show no symptoms (so some people don't know they are spreading it), there is an incubation period (so other people are infectious before they become symptomatic) and Covid is prone to super-spreader events (one person infecting many others).

How are the covid-19 variants different?

There is a large number of Covid variants as a result of natural mutation of the virus as it spreads across the world.  The variants identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil appear to be more infectious, and the UK variant appears to result in more serious cases. Research is continuing into these variants and vaccines.

Should we be optimistic of the covid-19 vaccine?

Overall, we should remain very optimistic about the Covid vaccines. The key desired outcome of our vaccination program is to prevent death and serious disease, and the approved Covid vaccines are highly effective against these outcomes.  They have been extensively tested to demonstrate safety, to a standard expected of other vaccines. It has been expedited due to the amount of investments made globally into the Covid vaccines, and the large numbers of volunteers who have participated in the clinical trials.