One of Australia’s most prominent doctors has called for states to keep their borders shut as a COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria threatens to bring on a second wave.
Dr Stephen Duckett from the Grattan Institute told Today Victoria had “no choice” but to snap back into lockdown, and other states should seriously consider keeping borders closed.
“The borders for Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia have to remain closed,” Dr Duckett said.
“Because if I were in any one of those states the risk of opening the borders and having people from Victoria who may be carrying the infection, flying to Brisbane, flying to Perth – then you just start all over again.”
Dr Duckett believes Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken “a rather relaxed view” to restrictions.
“I think he’s weighing naively the interests of the some of those industries against the risk of the virus taking up and then major restrictions having to come back in play and that being worse for the economy,” Dr Duckett said.
“I don’t think there’s really an economy health trade-off. I think the prime minister thinks there is.”
Australia has recorded 18 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, placing states and territories on high alert.
In total, Australia has 7461 confirmed cases, 102 of whom have died.
Just two patients are currently being treated in intensive care units while 15 have been admitted to hospital.
When asked about Australia’s figures, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said there “a lot of luck” in determining which states will be hit hardest by outbreaks.
Victoria remains the epicentre of the outbreaks, with the state’s active cases more than doubling in a single week.
Victoria confirmed another 19 coronavirus cases on Sunday and 16 yesterday, taking to 176 the number of new cases over the past eight days.
The state’s case numbers are now the highest they’ve been in more than two months after six days of double-digit growth.
As a result, the state’s Rugby League team the Melbourne Storm will be relocated “indefinitely” and the future of the AFL’s 2020 season hangs in the balance.
State premiers have warned their residents not to travel to six identified “hotspots” of the disease in Victoria, which include Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin.
Yesterday, New South Wales reported two new cases of coronavirus over the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, one in a hotel-quarantined traveller.
The other case was in a man in his 30s from southwest Sydney, with the source of his infection still unknown.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would not agree to border closures with any of NSW’s neighbour states.
No COVID-19 patients are currently in intensive care in NSW.
South Australia has no current patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
Today the state will send a team of experts to Victoria to help with contact tracing, spending three weeks helping health officials.
Volunteers are being recruited for a possible COVID-19 vaccine trial in Adelaide.
Researchers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital are looking for about 100 healthy adults for the trial which may be conducted later this year.
Plans to lift SA’s remaining border restrictions by July 20 could be pushed back based on the outbreak in Victoria.
Western Australia has no current patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
WA Premier Mark McGowan has declined to put a date on when the state’s borders will reopen, but internal coronavirus restrictions will be removed by July 18.
From June 27, the state will enact stage four easing of restrictions, allowing some fans back at sporting grounds and increased person limits at restaurants and pubs.
Queensland has one patient admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
The state’s border remained closed for all individuals who do not have a valid exemption.
Tasmania has no current patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
The state’s borders remain closed despite increasing pressure from tourism operators to create a “travel bubble” to “safe” capital cities such as Adelaide and the Northern Territory.
The Northern Territory has no current patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
Its state government is standing by its decision to re-open its borders on July 17, despite Victoria recording an influx of COVID-19 cases over the weekend.
Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the spike in positive results down south was just part of the “new normal”.
“We never aimed for eradication,” she said.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
The ACT has no patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
ACT residents can travel anywhere within New South Wales, for any reason and for any length of time.
The border into Victoria remains open, with residents urged not to travel to the listed coronavirus hotspots around Melbourne.