The city of 'biggest concern' as coronavirus modelling finally revealed

Louise Cheer
News Editor

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has revealed the city that is of biggest concern for health authorities as the country continues to battle the coronavirus.

With a population of more than five million, Brendan Murphy says the rate of community transmission in Sydney is the “one that worries us most of all” as he unveiled what modelling the National Cabinet had been basing their social-distancing decision on.

“In Australia, we don't have a diffuse outbreak across the whole country, we have focal outbreaks,” Prof Murphy said.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy unveiled what modelling Australia's federal government, states and territories' decision-making has been based on. Source: AAP/Lukas Coch

“The one that worries us most of all is the community transmission in Sydney. I've been saying that for a while.

“That's the one we're focusing on, that's why New South Wales Health has been so proactive and forward-leaning in doing a range of broadened testing in a whole lot of suburbs where they're concerned.

“And the early indications, as we've said, are positive, but we cannot be complacent. We must not be complacent. We must hold our line. 

“Our current case rate is very, very low. Every death is a tragedy, but our death rate is one of the lowest in the world so far. 

“We don't know what it will be as disease progresses, but we are reassured to some extent about that.”

Earlier on Tuesday, NSW’s Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant urged people from eight coronavirus hotspots to get tested if they started showing any symptoms.

Three areas in Sydney – Waverley, Woollahra, Dee Why – were named.

“In those areas, we have seen a case, or cases, of local transmission where we haven't been able to find the source,” she said.

Dr Chant added authorities “don't have any indication of broad-based outbreaks” in the areas she mentioned, but she wanted to stress “high levels of vigilance” were needed.

People out on the coastal walk near Mackenzies Bay, in Sydney on March 28, 2020. Source: AAP Image/James Gourley

Strict-social distancing measures have prevented Australia's intensive care units from being overwhelmed by up to 35,000 coronavirus patients.

Doherty Institute modelling provided to federal and state leaders and released publicly on Tuesday looked at a worst-case scenario based on international experience.

It showed if no action had been taken to stop the spread of the disease, around 23 million people, or 89 per cent of the population, could have been infected.

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