A leading disease expert has hinted that Melbourne’s lockdown could be extended beyond six weeks if coronavirus cases do not decline as significantly as expected.
Victorian infections peaked at 725 on August 6, and the numbers have steadily fallen below 300, with 222 cases reported on Tuesday.
But University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely fears the numbers may not drop as quickly as expected.
Melbourne entered phase 4 lockdown on August 2 and a curfew was introduced from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. The rest of the state was subject to the Stage 3 restrictions as of August 5 at 11:59 p.m.
“The cases dropped pretty quickly in the week following August 4, faster than expected, but last week – which is seven days after the Stage 4 lockdown – it actually slowed down and that’s what I finds it strange, ”he told news.com.au. .
“It continues to drop which is good, but at this rate of progress we will be lucky if we are down to less than 50 cases per day by the end of the six week lockdown. “
A Hambleton House resident addresses police in Melbourne on Monday. Health officials are investigating Hambleton House in Albert Park following coronavirus outbreak among residents
Victoria reported a record high of 725 infections on August 6 and the number has fallen steadily below 300, with 282 cases on Monday
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had previously suggested that the Stage 4 restrictions would cost the national economy between $ 7 billion and $ 9 billion in the September quarter.
Last week it was revealed that more than one million Australians are unemployed for the first time since the records began, with the unemployment rate climbing slightly to 7.5%.
The situation could get worse, as the latest unemployment figures do not reflect the impact of Melbourne’s fourth phase lockdown.
If coronavirus cases do not drop as sharply as expected, Victorians could face extended restrictions when the lockdown ends on September 13.
Professor Blakely said he hopes new cases of the coronavirus will drop below 50 per day.
“But let’s see how we are, maybe things will heat up next week,” he said.
Little Bourke St in Melbourne’s CBD is empty during the fourth stage lockdown on Monday
According to the Victorian President of the Australian Medical Association, Associate Professor Julian Rait, the new low double-digit cases would be “very manageable”.
“I think a lot of my colleagues would like to see zero numbers, but I think more realistically that if it got down to the low two digits or even maybe the single digits, it would be very manageable,” he said. he declares.
“The idea would be that at this point you could have a very aggressive contact tracing and be able to find all possible contacts and isolate them if necessary.
“So I think once the numbers get really low it’s a much more manageable situation than it is now. “
By comparison, New South Wales continued to manage between 10 and 20 new infections per day.
Health workers are seen outside the Florence Elderly Care Center in Melbourne on Monday
Despite fears of a slower-than-expected decline, Professor Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, said the daily number of COVID-19 cases had reassuringly declined since the summit of 725 cases on August 5.
Commenting on the link between the high number of cases in depressed socio-economic areas of Melbourne, Ms Bennett highlighted Victoria’s botched quarantine program.
“The communities hardest hit when their workers brought the virus home were also those most affected by the pandemic – overrepresented in casual work at multiple sites, unable to work from home or afford to give up work,” she said in a statement.
“The fact that the tide is turning in Victoria is in great part an honor to those who are hardest hit, and who have had to work very hard to stop local transmission.
Victoria recorded 25 deaths on Monday – most of all days from the pandemic – bringing the state’s toll to 334 and the national figure to 421.
Victoria recorded 25 deaths on Monday – most of all days from the pandemic – bringing the state’s toll to 334 and the national figure to 421
But there have been 282 new cases and there have not been more than 400 days since last Wednesday.
An optimistic Prime Minister Daniel Andrews was bolstered by Monday’s numbers while making his regular call for the Victorians not to rest on their laurels.
“We are strong, there are good reasons for people to have hope for the future – we just cannot allow a sense of complacency to seep in here,” he said. to journalists.
Of Monday’s record deaths, 22 were linked to elderly care.
The deaths include a man in his sixties, four women and three men in their sixties, six women and four men in the 80th and four men and three women in the 90th.
Authorities have warned of ongoing deaths even as the number of new cases declines.
A breakdown of ICU hospitalization data released Monday afternoon shows that 31 of 49 patients are aged 60 or older.
There is also one person in their twenties, four in their thirties, three in their forties and ten in their fifties in intensive care.
The State Library of Victoria in Melbourne’s CBD is closed and deserted during Stage Four lockdown
WHAT THE FOUR LOCKDOWN DE MELBOURNE COURSE MEANS FOR YOU
State of disaster: Increase in police powers to enforce lockdown. Warnings will no longer be issued, only fines of $ 1652 or a summons to court
Curfew: No one is allowed outside of 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. except for work, medical care, nursing – no shopping or exercising
Distance limit: Shopping and exercise can only be done 3 miles from your home
Exercise: All recreational activities are prohibited and you may only exercise with another person for one hour per day
The partners: You can visit a boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t live with you, even if they live more than 5 km away
Purchases: Only one person can do the shopping per household per day
Cafes and restaurants remain open for take-out, as do supermarkets etc.
Schools: All students learn from home, unless they are vulnerable or their parents are essential workers. Kindy and childcare closed
Funeral: No change to funeral limits, but only 10 mourners can leave Melbourne for the Victoria area for a
Weddings: Completely forbidden
Transport public: Cut after 8 p.m. and canceled late at night
Community sport: All community sports in Victoria are now banned. Only exercise is authorized within the authorized limits of a public gathering of two people.