‘Woeful’: Why Vic won’t escape lockdown

 

Epidemiologist Peter Collignon has slammed the Victorian government's road map to end the state's harsh lockdown as "unattainable", especially within the tight timelines provided.

On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the lockdown would end gradually, with many things unable to open until there was an average of five or less new cases per day for two weeks, including less than five cases with an unknown source over that two weeks.

The road map outlines that life cannot return to normal until there had been no new cases for two weeks.

Dr Collignon told NCA NewsWire an elimination strategy was a bad plan and Victoria's contact tracing system would make it near-impossible to achieve.

"Some of their criteria (for ending the lockdown) is less than five cases in two weeks, with no known source," he said.

"But if you look at the Victorian figures, they have still got huge numbers of undefined cases."

The epidemiologist said to be able to take the hard line on virus transmission numbers, contact tracing across the state needed to be a lot better, and test results needed to be available within 24-48 hours.

"They still don't have that," he said. "(Victoria's) contact tracing … compared to NSW their contact tracing has been woeful."

Under the road map released on Sunday, most retail in Melbourne will not be able to reopen until case numbers have fallen below an average of five per day, and there have been no more than five mystery cases in the past two weeks. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie
Under the road map released on Sunday, most retail in Melbourne will not be able to reopen until case numbers have fallen below an average of five per day, and there have been no more than five mystery cases in the past two weeks. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Dr Collignon said NSW had a "good approach to keeping low numbers", using good contact tracing and good turnover of test results.

"My understanding in Melbourne is it can take three days to get your results back," he said.

"Their whole plan is based on contact tracing being more effective, but so far, after three to four weeks, most of their cases are still defined as under investigation, which means they haven't sorted it out.

"(The road map plan is) unattainable, because they won't have the data to do it."

In general, Dr Collignon said the relaxation guidelines were too strict, and couldn't even be met by many parts of the country that didn't go into a second lockdown.

"If you consider the number of people still with infections in Australia, it's a long way off, nowhere near the timelines," he said.

"No more than five unsourced cases in the last 14 days - that's a really high number … NSW would currently not satisfy that - they'd be in stage 3 lockdown."

He said the use of theoretical modelling to design the road map also worried him, and that Mr Andrews should have based his plan on a real-life model from a similar area - New South Wales.

"If they're going to follow a successful model, instead of theoretical modelling, why don't they follow a real life Australian model, NSW?," he said.

"To me, this type of modelling, you've got to be careful of. Better to follow a real life model."

Epidemiologist Peter Collignon said the road map was not achievable, especially considering Victoria’s “woeful” contact tracing system. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie
Epidemiologist Peter Collignon said the road map was not achievable, especially considering Victoria’s “woeful” contact tracing system. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Originally published as 'Woeful': Why Vic won't escape lockdown


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