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EXTRA PAIN FOR LONG-TERM GAIN
Herald Sun, Melbourne  by Sharon McGowan
07 Sep 2020
Edition Changes - Page 4 - 1958 words - ID 1328847738 - Photo: No - Type: News Item - Size: 1489.00cm2

Healthcare workers the key to bringing case numbers down

VICTORIA is on track to meet new coronavirus case targets, which will trigger an easing of restrictions, experts say.

University of South Australia Professor Adrian Esterman told the Herald Sun the state government's timeline was "erring on the side of caution".

But he said the state's apparent elimination strategy was the right path to take.

"Forecasting this virus is incredibly difficult. It's all very much dependent on whether they can get the infections in health workers and nursing homes under control," he said.

"But at its current rate, it's decreasing in a slow curve and we should hit those targets on those dates.

"I think these are reasonable targets and I think the approach the Victorian government is taking is sensible.

"It's exactly what's needed. I know it's a huge amount of pain for people but it's shortterm pain for long-term gain." Metropolitan Melbourne must reach an average daily case rate of 30-50 cases over the preceding fortnight to trigger an easing of restrictions from September 28. The figure now is 89.21 cases.

Regional Victoria must have an average of five or fewer new cases and no mystery cases in the preceding 14 days to move from the second to third step of restrictions.

The regional average is now 5.57 cases.

Professor Nancy Baxter, who heads Melbourne University's School of Population and Global Health, said controlling outbreaks among healthcare workers and in aged-care homes would be the key to meeting the deadlines.

Ill-fitting masks in healthcare settings were among factors that had the potential to lead to future outbreaks.

"I would say if things go well, this is a reasonable timeline," Prof Baxter said.

"If anything, we may well be there before the November 23 deadline that they've set, but there's a lot of uncertainty.

"One of the key things is to get their house in order in respect to the hospital and healthcare worker transmission. When you have someone who is cutting stone, you make sure their mask fits so they don't inhale the dust but they haven't made sure the masks fit healthcare workers." But Victoria's road map was met with criticism by Professor Catherine Bennett, head of epidemiology at Deakin University.

She was "extremely disappointed" with the plan and criticised the government for using a "generic" model rather than using more of Victoria's data to pave the path of the second wave. Prof Bennett also said the government could have focused on milestone case numbers rather than setting target dates for when restrictions will be lifted.

"As an epidemiologist, I'm the first one to say we have to have a very sure and safe path out because it's so critical that we take with us all the gains we've made in the past five weeks, but I was quite stunned with what we were presented," she said.

"To base these threshold decisions on a generic model is really troubling to me, I don't know why we're not using our own data to get much more precise about what's going on in our community and we can safely open up.

"Maybe we could have been more precise about the restrictions we keep in place after next weekend.

"We should be giving our data to the modellers to put into their models. We should have been finessing it so it really fits our situation in Victoria so we had a much more fine brushstroke view of our future and so we can plan through that." sharon.mcgowan@news.com.au REGIONAL GUIDE, PAGES 14-15

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE FIRST STEP 11.59PM ON 13 SEPTEMBER 2020 First Step commences at 11.59pm on 13 September SOCIAL Curfew: eased to 9pm - 5am Leave home: for 4 reasons and stay local (5km) Public gatherings: increased to 2 people or a household that can meet outdoors for two hours maximum Visitors to the home: increased to 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent (all children under 18) ('single social bubble'), professional respite care for people with complex needs allowed EDUCATION AND Childcare and early educators: closed except for CHILDCARE permitted workers WORK Schools: remote learning unless an exemption applies Adult education: only onsite for those on permitted list Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry SHOPPING, Hospitality: take-away and delivery only EATING AND Retail: essential only with others only for click and DRINKING OUT collect EXERCISE AND Real estate: certain permitted activities can be done RECREATION in person but auctions online only CEREMONIES Shopping: 1 person per household AND SPECIAL OCCASIONS Outdoor recreation: must be within 5km, all sport and recreation facilities closed, outdoor playgrounds open.

Exercise: outdoors, up to two hours per day total, split into a maximum of two sessions Weddings: only for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant) Funerals: allowed with up to 10 people (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral) Religion: places of worship closed.

ENTERTAINMENT, Intrastate travel: not allowed, unless for a LEISURE AND permitted purpose TRAVEL Entertainment: all venues closed Accommodation: closed, except emergency SECOND STEP LATER OF THRESHOLD BEING MET AND 28 SEPTEMBER 2020 Move from the First Step to the Second Step if we reach an average daily case rate of 30-50 cases in Metro Melbourne over previous 14 days with public health advice regarding transmission source Curfew: 9pm - 5am Leave home: for 4 reasons and stay local (5km), 2 hours maximum for exercise or social interaction Public gatherings: increased to up to 5 people from a maximum of two households that can meet outdoors for social interaction (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap) Visitors to the home: 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent (all children under 18) ('single social bubble'). Respite care as per First Step Childcare and early educators: re-opens Schools: remote learning with staged return for onsite learning for Prep to Grade 2, VCE/VCAL and specialist schools in Term 4 Adult education: only onsite for those on permitted list Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry more workplaces to be permitted in following stages (see industry roadmaps) Hospitality: take-away and delivery only Retail: essential only with others only for click and collect Real estate: certain permitted activities can be done in person but auctions online only Shopping: 1 person per household Outdoor recreation: must be within 5km, outdoor personal training allowed with up to 2 people per trainer, outdoor pools open.

Exercise: outdoors, up to two hours per day total, split into a maximum of two sessions Weddings: only for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant) Funerals: allowed with up to 10 people (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral) Religion: places of worship closed, outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship, are allowed.

Intrastate travel: not allowed, unless for a permitted purpose Entertainment: all venues closed Accommodation: closed, except for a permitted purpose VICTORIA'S ROADMAP FOR REOPENING THIRD STEP LAST STEP COVID NORMAL Trigger points for easing restrictions - the decision for easing restrictions will be considered with Public Health advice, and preconditions being in place.

LATER OF THRESHOLD BEING MET AND 26 OCTOBER 2020 Move from Second Step to Third Step if we reach <5 new cases (state-wide average over previous 14 days) and <5 cases with unknown source (state-wide total last 14 days) LATER OF THRESHOLD BEING MET AND 23 NOVEMBER 2020 Step from Third Step to Last Step if we reach no new cases for 14 days (state-wide) WHEN THRESHOLD MET Move from Last Step to COVID Normal if we reach no new cases for 28 days (state-wide), no active cases (state-wide) and no outbreaks of concern in others states or territories Restrictions Curfew: not in place Leave home: no restrictions on reasons to leave home or distance but stay safe Public gatherings: increased to up to 10 people outdoors Visitors to the home: create a 'household bubble' with one nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household at a time (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap) Childcare and early educators: open Schools: remote learning with potential staged return for onsite learning for Grade 3 to Grade 10 based on public health advice Adult education: learn from home if you can, onsite learning for hands-on, skills-based learning Work from home if you can Hospitality: predominantly outdoor seated service, increased group limit of 10 and density limits Retail: re-opens, hairdressing open with safety measures, other beauty/personal care closed Real estate: private inspections by appointment only, auctions outdoors subject to gathering limits Shopping: no person limits Outdoor contact and non-contact sport for d18, outdoor noncontact sport only for adults, with gathering and density limits, outdoor skateparks open, outdoor fitness for 10 people.

Weddings: allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant) Funerals: allowed with up to 20 people (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral) Religion: outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader, facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader Intrastate travel: Allowed across Third Step area (can't travel to areas with higher restrictions) Entertainment: outdoor venues and events, subject to preapproved plans Accommodation: Open, with caps per the social bubble Curfew: not in place Leave home: No restrictions on reasons to leave home or distance but stay safe Public gatherings: increased to up to 50 people outdoors Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time Childcare and early educators: open Schools: remote learning with potential staged return for onsite learning for Grade 3 to Grade 10 based on public health advice Adult education: return to onsite learning for all with safety measures in place Work from home if you can Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient Retail: all open Real estate: operating with safety measures and record-keeping No exercise restrictions. Facilities open subject to safety measures.

Organised contact sports resume for all ages. Limitations for spectators Weddings: allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence Funerals: allowed with 50 people (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral), 20 in a private residence Religion: public worship (not including private ceremonies e.g.

baptism, bat mitzvah) can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient Intrastate travel: allowed Entertainment: indoor and outdoor venues open with density quotient and patron caps. Staged return to events with seated spectators. Large events treated on an individual basis based on requirements and epidemiology at the time Accommodation: Open Curfew: not in place Leave home: No restrictions on reasons to leave home or distance but stay safe Public gatherings: no restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees Visitors to the home: no restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of visitors Childcare and early educators: open Schools: onsite learning Adult education: return to onsite learning Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home Hospitality: no restrictions but record-keeping of patrons to continue Retail: all open Real estate: operating with safety measures and record-keeping No restrictions on community sports or spectators Weddings, funerals, religion: no limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees RFEOGPRIAORGNEEACSLO14VP-1LE5ARNY Intrastate travel: allowed Borders: Continued international border controls, state border controls activated in case of outbreaks Entertainment venues: open, safety measures and recordkeeping.

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