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Coronavirus: What the months ahead in Australia will look like

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Coronavirus: What the months ahead in Australia will look like

Australia is successfully curbing the spread of COVID-19, with Victoria recording just seven new cases overnight.

Yesterday, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory each recorded no new coronavirus cases.

But an epidemiology expert says we will likely have some lockdown restrictions in place until the end of the year.

Inaugural Chair of Epidemology at Deakin University, Professor Catherine Bennett, said large events and international travel may be restricted until 2021.

“The more high risk activities at a community level, including large events and those discussions around opening up our national borders, all of that will be pushed back until we’ve got everything else sorted,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

Professor Bennett said pubs, bars and cafes are unlikely to reopen fully any time soon, but an intermediate opening step could be introduced.

“There might be a staged relaxation there, where some may be able to operate as long as they can provide distancing between tables and so on,” she said.

Professor Bennett said the long incubation period of COVID-19 makes it difficult to ease restrictions.

“If you do start to see more spread of corona in the community it’s going to be a couple of weeks before people start presenting with any symptoms or might be picked up on testing, because you have that long incubation period,” she said.

“That’s what will slow down the relaxation of restrictions as well, because it will take us a while to understand what we’ve already put in place and how that’s working before we move to the next level of easing.”

News that almost 200 people in South Korea who had recovered from coronavirus have tested positive agai may further complicate moves to ease lockdown restrictions.

“It is something people are concerned about,” Professor Bennett said.

“If you have an infection you want people to be immune, because that is going to be a key part of a strategy to ease lockdown.”

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Neil Mitchell