Covid Australia: Melbourne and Victoria could resume Christmas containment

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Warning Covid restrictions could RETURN to Victoria by Christmas amid fears the holiday season could turn into a ‘super-spreading event’

  • Epidemiologist warns restrictions could return to Victoria before the holiday season
  • Professor Tony Blakely said residents could be urged to return to ‘hermit life’
  • He predicted the return of density limits, target testing and hot spot monitoring










A leading epidemiologist has urged authorities to tighten restrictions on Covid-19 before the holiday season, fearing Christmas Day is a “super-spreading event”.

Professor Tony Blakely has recommended health officials “dab the breaks” to ease restrictions if infections in Victoria continue to climb as Christmas approaches.

Melbourne has suffered the longest cumulative lockdown time in the world, totaling 262 days of lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

But Dr Blakely told 3AW radio host Neil Mitchell that an increase in Covid cases could mean increased surveillance of hot spot areas and targeted testing, as well as a return to density limits.

“If those numbers start to go up and in early December, late November we go back to around 1,500, I think we’ll want to buffer the breaks at this point,” he said.

Professor Tony Blakely has recommended health officials ‘stamp breaks’ to ease restrictions if Victoria’s Covid-19 cases continue to rise as Christmas approaches

The epidemiologist said an increase in Covid cases could mean increased surveillance of hot spot areas and targeted testing as well as the return of density limits (photo, diners in Melbourne)

The epidemiologist said an increase in Covid cases could mean increased surveillance of hot spot areas and targeted testing as well as the return of density limits (photo, diners in Melbourne)

“We don’t want to go into Christmas with case counts at 2,500, 3,000, per day because Christmas will be a super spreading event and it would become very unpleasant in January.”

He said if cases explode in the weeks leading up to the holiday season, residents may have to return to “living as a hermit” for a few weeks to get back on track for Christmas.

The University of Melbourne professor said the Burnett Institute’s modeling revealed a “vast array of possibilities” for cases to increase or decrease over the next month.

Prof Blakely said the data predicted an “acceleration” of cases before Christmas due to a higher community transmission rate as the state continues to reopen.

The professor said if cases explode in the weeks leading up to the holiday season, residents may have to return to 'hermit life' (pictured, people line up outside a retail store in Melbourne)

The professor said if cases explode in the weeks leading up to the holiday season, residents may have to return to ‘hermit life’ (pictured, people line up outside a retail store in Melbourne)

Professor Blakely said the data predicted a 'relaunch' of cases before Christmas due to a higher community transmission rate when the state reopens (pictured, visitors to bars in Melbourne)

Professor Blakely said the data predicted a ‘relaunch’ of cases before Christmas due to a higher community transmission rate when the state reopens (pictured, visitors to bars in Melbourne)

He said that with the introduction of the booster shots, vaccinated Victorians would have around 70% protection against the coronavirus.

The epidemiologist warned that herd immunity would not be achieved for a year, as more Victorians naturally catch the virus and boost their immune systems.

He said that using rapid antigen testing, reestablishing density limits and making sure only the vaccinated made it to the sites, it would “alleviate the cases” in time for the long-awaited vacation.

It comes as Victoria recorded 1,126 new cases of Covid-19 and five other deaths on Monday, after dozens of protests took place in Melbourne’s CBD over the weekend.

Thousands of people gathered outside the state library to protest against vaccination warrants and a pandemic bill on Saturday (pictured, member of the

Thousands of people gathered outside the state library to protest against vaccination warrants and a pandemic bill on Saturday (pictured, member of the “Vic Freedom Movement”)

Protesters marched down Bourke Street to Parliament on Spring Street just after noon, with cries of 'Victoria Free' and 'Sack Dan Andrews' (pictured)

Protesters marched down Bourke Street to Parliament on Spring Street just after noon, with cries of ‘Victoria Free’ and ‘Sack Dan Andrews’ (pictured)

Thousands of people gathered outside the state library to protest against vaccination warrants and a pandemic bill on Saturday.

Protesters walked down Bourke Street to Parliament on Spring Street just after noon, with cries of “Free Victoria” and “Sack Dan Andrews”.

New pandemic-specific laws, which are expected to replace state of emergency powers when they expire on December 15, reduce the powers of the chief medical officer of health.

If approved, they will give the Prime Minister the power to declare a pandemic and the Minister of Health the role of issuing public health orders.

As of Monday, 84% of Victorians were fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

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