Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has shared a modelling scenario showing why his government made the decision to extend the state’s strict lockdown measures.
Mr Andrews outlined Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday with stage four measures to continue at least two weeks past September 13.
While it has understandably caused a lot of angst and frustration, the premier on Monday released modelling from the University of Melbourne and University of New England, saying it “shows what’s likely to happen if we eased too quickly, with the numbers too high”.
“When the stakes are so high, it's a risk we just can't take,” he said.
With Christmas Day marked on the chart, the modelling suggests re-opening at 25 cases a day on average across a fortnight would lead to a 62 per cent chance of Melbourne having to go back into lockdown on December 25.
With a rolling fortnight average of 10 new cases a day, it drops to about 10 per cent and at five it plummets to three per cent.
On Monday, the state confirmed 41 new cases - the lowest number of daily infections since June 27.
“I know everyone wants this over as soon as possible. So do I,” Mr Andrews said.
“But there’s one thing worse than having restrictions in place – and that’s coming out too fast.”
“Having two weeks of fun. Case numbers explode. And then you’re straight back into lockdown.”
It follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison telling reporters on Monday he wants to bring Victoria out of lockdown faster through more effective contact tracing.
While the lockdown restrictions haven’t proved popular Mr Andrews told ABC’s 730 on Monday night evidence is showing “the strategy’s working”.
Of the criticism levelled at him by political opponents, the premier told the program: “politics has never mattered less to me”.
“Leadership is not about doing what's popular, it's about doing what's right,” he said. “And that's exactly the decisions I made yesterday, and I will continue to lead in that fashion.”
“The only thing that matters is we all stay the course. We all keep following the data, the science and the doctors and get this done. Then move to the biggest economic repair job that our state has ever seen,” Mr Andrews told 7:30.
There have also been questions about whether the general health risks outweigh the mental health issues many Victorians might be facing in isolation. Lisa Wilkinson earlier asked Mr Andrews whether enough was being done to support Victorians suffering mental anguish on Channel 10’s The Sunday Project.
“There’s more to do there, no question,” he told the program.
“Across the board we are alive to that issue, it is very challenging and we will have to do more.”
Professor Peter Collignon from the Australian National University told Channel Nine’s Today Show the roadmap won’t work because it’s aiming to eradicate the virus.
“It is not sustainable for the long-term and it is a plan to get elimination. No one has done that except Taiwan... New Zealand tried but it came back,” he said.
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