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Australia’s ‘new playbook’: How we deal with COVID-19 outbreaks may be about to change

Article image for Australia’s ‘new playbook’: How we deal with COVID-19 outbreaks may be about to change

South Australia has entered a tough six-day lockdown, and if it proves successful, experts say it could become Australia’s “new playbook” for dealing with COVID-19.

Epidemiologist from the University of South Australia, and former advisor to the WHO, Professor Adrian Esterman, says the state’s short and severe shutdown may become the new norm for managing outbreaks across the country.

“Certainly in Australia, this is a new playbook,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“I can’t see why it wouldn’t work in other states.

“Rather than having partial restrictions, this is going really, really heavy for a very short period of time.

“The reason why we’re going this route is two things: Firstly we want to try and get back to sort of half normal before Christmas.

“Secondly, this particular situation has a much shorter incubation period than we’ve seen previously. If you take two cycles of infection, that’s from when someone gets infected to when someone else gets infected, it turns out to be about three days.”

Professor Esterman says future COVID-19 outbreaks in Australia are “inevitable” if we don’t fix a “big problem” with hotel quarantine.

“We are quarantining people in hotels in the middle of big cities, which doesn’t really make a lot of sense,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Professor Esterman says returned travellers should instead be quarantined “far away from big cities” in places like Wimmera and Christmas Island.

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