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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.”

Burnet Institute COVASIM modelling is being used to inform the easing of restrictions in Victoria. Find out more.

Melbourne COVID-19 cases remain in double figures

Restrictions have eased in Regional Victoria, and Metropolitan Melbourne has taken a second step towards a “COVID-normal”

Case numbers have dipped in Melbourne with 6 new cases on October 7 and 11 new cases on October 8, bringing the 14-day rolling average for Metropolitan Melbourne to 9.7.

Stage-4 restrictions have eased slightly in Metropolitan Melbourne, which has taken a second step towards a COVID-normal. The curfew is no longer in place and outdoor gatherings of up to five people from no more than two households are now legal.

Visit the DHHS website for more information.

Burnet involved in more than 60 projects

As COVID-19 cases pass 35 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.

The Institute is trialling community based responses to COVID-19. Find out more here.

Read Burnet’s latest Global Analysis which examines mutations of the virus and superspreading.

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 at an Executive Board Meeting, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a moment of silence with more than 1 million deaths now confirmed as a result of COVID-19.

“Numbers can blind us to the reality that every single life lost is someone who loved and was loved by others – someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, daughter or son,” Dr Tedros said.

He went on to emphasise the ongoing need for strong leadership and communication as the world continues to respond to the pandemic.

“What we’ve learned in every region of the world is that with strong leadership, clear and comprehensive strategies, consistent communication, and an engaged, empowered and enabled population, it’s never too late,” he said.

Dr Tedros has previously said the COVID-19 pandemic should lead the world to redouble its efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, and to begin preparing for the next pandemic.

He has also warned against “vaccine nationalism” and urged the world to equitably share any COVID-19 vaccines or treatments.

“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.

(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 35 million cases. On October 8, there were 35,998,606 cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Myanmar and Papua New Guinea

There have been 21,433 confirmed cases in Myanmar and 541 cases in Papua New Guinea.

Australian situation

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

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Burnet Institute

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