A biostatistics and epidemiology expert has predicted new cases of coronavirus in Victoria could be as low as 10 a day by next weekend.
Professor at the University of South Australia Adrian Esterman said looking at the current trends, coronavirus cases in Victoria were dropping more rapidly than they rose in July.
On Tuesday, Victoria recorded just 70 new coronavirus cases, the lowest number in the state for two months.
Professor Esterman told Yahoo News Australia due to the strict Stage 4 restrictions, cases were able to slope at a steeper rate.
“I think cases could be as low as 10 by next weekend, but we simply won’t know for the next two or three days,” he said.
“For the trend line to be working that way, we’d be hoping to see 65 cases a day, but it was 70 [on Tuesday].
“I obviously hope to see the downward trend hit 60 on Wednesday and 50 the next day and so on. There is potential for it to become a snake like in NSW where it goes up and down from 10 to 20 cases a day so it is complex.
“Everyone has their fingers crossed – it’s a really hard time for people stuck in their homes.”
Victorian premier announces two roadmaps
Professor Esterman’s comments come as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced there would be two different roadmaps out of lockdown for the state – with Melbourne to have a different exit strategy to regional Victoria.
“We believe that given the low case numbers it will be possible for us to have different settings in regional Victoria, and a different timeline and roadmap compared to what will be essential in metropolitan Melbourne,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Mr Andrews said the two areas were in “different places” when it came to the number of positive cases and chains of transmission.
“The challenge is different in metropolitan Melbourne than it is in regional Victoria,” he said.
Mr Andrews announced there were now only 139 active cases in regional Victoria, while there are 2,380 active cases in metropolitan Melbourne.
The ‘magic number’ to lift lockdown
Victoria’s harsh lockdown is due to remain in place until September 13, and University of Melbourne Professor John Matthews told Yahoo News Australia Victoria would have to have daily cases as low as NSW to consider lifting lockdown.
NSW Health reported just 13 new cases in NSW on Tuesday.
“The simplest thing is to look at NSW. They’re still under about 20 cases per day, and unless we get to at least that stage in Victoria, it would be hard to recommend stopping the lockdown,” Professor Matthews said.
“Because the numbers are smaller, the contact tracing is more manageable and they can track the new cases and the context down pretty quickly.”
On Tuesday, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton was reluctant to give a ‘magic number’ at which restrictions could be lifted, but said he “doubts that they will be under 10” when the government is ready to enact its roadmap.
He said on Monday he expected the state to be at between 40 and 50 daily cases.
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