COVID-19: Melbourne should ease out of restrictions cautiously

Burnet Institute

22 September, 2020

Burnet Institute epidemiologist Professor Mike Toole AM told The Age Melbourne should emerge out of the second wave much more cautiously than it had eased out of the first wave.

He said Melburnians would have something to look forward to on 28 September when some of the lowest-risk restrictions were eased, but cautioned against pinning hopes on the 26 October and 23 November dates outlined in the government’s four-step road map.

“I can see why people are fixated on Sunday – it will be an eight-week stage four lockdown and curfew, and we’ve all been looking forward to that being over,” Professor Toole said.

“From then on, I think it should be case based – it’s not even just the number of cases, but the nature of the cases. People should get dates out of their mind.”

Professor Toole said Australian states and territories had eased restrictions sooner than they should have, attributing the intensity of the second wave to the limits on public gatherings, which increased from five to 20.

“That was the critical mistake,” Professor Toole said. “That’s what fuelled the second wave.”

Melbourne COVID-19 cases remain in double figures

Restrictions have eased in Regional Victoria, but Metropolitan Melbourne remains in Stage 4 lockdown

Case numbers continue to dip in Melbourne with 12 new cases on September 24, 15 new cases on September 23, and 28 new cases (24 linked to aged care) announced on 22 September, bringing the 14-day rolling average for Metropolitan Melbourne to 26.7, under the 30-50 case threshold for Step 2 of easing restrictions. Stage-4 lockdown in Metropolitan Melbourne will continue until 28 September.

Visit the DHHS website for more information.

Burnet involved in more than 60 projects

As COVID-19 cases pass 31 million across more than 200 countries, Burnet Institute researchers are releasing technical and policy briefs, and analyses of the global situation to inform governments, policymakers and the general public.

The Knowledge Hub for COVID-19 (Know-C19 Hub) is the gateway to our research findings, policy and technical reports, and also latest news about Burnet’s COVID-19 work. The Know C-19 Hub actively seeks to address gaps in knowledge and collate and provide novel strategic information on COVID-19 to inform the Australian and International response.

Read the latest updates below or visit the Know-C19 Hub page.

Read Burnet’s latest Global Analysis, which examines ongoing waves of COVID-19 and the duration of immunity to the virus.

Burnet has also released two new policy briefs about young people and the pandemic, covering the involvement of young people in messaging and decision making, and the mental health of young people.

Burnet’s response

Burnet’s public health and laboratory-based COVID-19 researchers are contributing to innovative and evidence-based solutions to the global pandemic.

Burnet Institute COVID-19 Research Projects

A snapshot of other Burnet’s activities

  • Burnet is working directly with the Australian Department of Health to collate and provide rapid, data-driven technical briefs and policy options to Federal and state Chief Medical Officers across a broad range of key policy, public health and clinical responses.
  • Staff have been seconded to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Health, providing an additional layer of expertise to support the Victorian response and Aged Care.
  • We have also pivoting funding from sources such as DFAT to support COVID-19 responses in Papua New Guinea and Myanmar.
  • Our internal COVID-19 Management Team continues to support activities across the Institute and finding solutions to maintain operations amid the lockdown.

Global situation

In his latest address to media, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that the pandemic must lead to redoubled efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, and urged the world to begin preparing for the next pandemic.

“We must move heaven and earth to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.” - Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Dr Tedros said the WHO’s aim “is to have two billion doses of vaccine available by the end of 2021” and urged countries' to increase their political and financial commitments to the COVAX facility, which is coordinated by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO.

There are nearly 200 COVID-19 vaccines in clinical and pre-clinical testing, Dr Tedros said.

“The history of vaccine development tells us that some will fail, and some will succeed,” he said.

On August 25, Dr Tedros warned against the scourge of “vaccine nationalism”, and has advocated for fair and equitable access to any vaccine for COVID-19. “Vaccine nationalism only helps the virus,” he said.

(Image: WHO’s Situation Dashboard)

The WHO’s Global Situation Reports are updated daily on their website and you can also view the latest global cases via the Situation Dashboard/Map.

The world now has more than 31 million cases. On 24 September, there were 31,762,607 cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Myanmar and Papua New Guinea

There have been 7177 confirmed cases in Myanmar and 527 cases in Papua New Guinea.

Australian situation

Visit to keep in touch with the current status of Australian cases.


Contact Details

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Burnet Institute

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