Masks, social distancing important as ever

Burnet Institute

27 October, 2020

Image: Saturday morning shoppers at Gleadell Street market, Richmond

As Melbourne takes a significant step forward out of lockdown with the imminent easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Burnet Institute’s Professor Mike Toole AM is confident the community will continue to observe two fundamental ongoing public health requirements – social distancing and the wearing of masks.

From 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October in metropolitan Melbourne:

  • there’s no reason needed to leave home,
  • retail, hospitality and beauty reopen (with limits),
  • more people will be allowed at weddings, funerals and religious gatherings, and
  • outdoor contact sports for under-18s and non-contact sports for adults resume.

Click here for the latest information on restrictions in Victoria from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Earlier on Tuesday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews flagged that mask wearing was a necessary trade-off and was likely to continue into 2021.

“We have to be careful not to send a message that it is all over because that will lead to a decrease in adherence to the public health directives, and there’s a huge difference between 80 percent of adherence to physical distancing and 70 per cent,” Professor Toole told ABC Radio’s PM program.

“Eighty percent pushes the cases down, but 70 percent allows it to get out of control, so we’ve got to ensure at least 80 percent are adhering to those precautions, and that’s going to be a big challenge when retail opens.”

Professor Toole told ABC Television New Channel that Victoria’s emergence from a second wave of the pandemic has been achieved in only two other countries globally – Vietnam and Hong Kong.

“They’ve succeeded because of the very high level of listening to and obeying public directives and, of course, mask-wearing, which is a culture in those countries, and very effective contact tracing and localised restrictions,” Professor Toole said.

“A lockdown is not an all-or-nothing option, but you do need those conditions to not have a lockdown.

“Other countries will be looking our way and we will be the envy of the world as we enter a summer of extremely low community transmission, but we still have to be very vigilant.”

Click here to listen to Professor Toole’s PM interview in full, and find out more about Burnet’s broad range of COVID-19 research activities.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Michael Toole AM

Honorary Staff member


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