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20 cases is magic number
Geelong Advertiser, Geelong  by Wes Hosking
01 Sep 2020
General News - Page 6 - 314 words - ID 1325844886 - Photo: No - Type: News Item - Size: 200.00cm2

TWENTY may be the magic number of new daily coronavirus cases Victoria must reach before restrictions are eased.

One infectious diseases physician predicts new case numbers will reach single digits by the weekend.

But experts stress it's vital mystery transmissions stay low before health orders can be wound back.

Deakin University's Catherine Bennett said 20 new daily cases could be a trigger to ease restrictions but only if there weren't significant mystery cases, where the origins of infection are unknown.

These have been making up about 20 per cent of all cases.

"I think it's going to be based on the mystery cases more than the overall number," Professor Bennett said.

"If we have got our overall numbers down to 20 - that might have the government feeling confident enough that they can manage that and we can open up.

"If we've got 20 cases overall but they're all mystery cases and we're not sure where these cases are coming from, they'd still be quite nervous.

"As soon as you relax restrictions, if that virus transmission pathway is still there, it will open up again." University of South Australia's Adrian Esterman, who has completed modelling showing Victoria's new case numbers will fall to about 60 on Tuesday, 45 on Wednesday and single digits by the weekend, said case numbers had risen and fallen steeply and there was no reason some restrictions couldn't be eased now.

This could include low-risk changes in two-week blocks, such as doubling the one-hour daily exercise limit and a friendship "bubble" for singles.

Measures such as the curfew, which stemmed big gatherings, were still needed.

"What they've got to do is to maximise the things that will improve people's mental health but minimise the risk of extra transmissions," Professor Esterman said.

University of Melbourne's Nancy Baxter said Victoria appeared to be aiming for a mix of suppression and elimination.

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