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The COVID-19 figure an epidemiologist says Victoria should reach before easing lockdown

An epidemiologist says she’s “delighted” about Victoria’s drop in COVID-19 cases, but warned the state is still a long way from being able to safely ease lockdown restrictions.

Professor of Epidemiology at the University of NSW, Marylouise McLaws, who is also a member of the WHO Experts Advisory Panel for COVID-19, says she understands why Victorians are celebrating today’s daily case figure of 116, but it’s too early to relax.

“I imagine you’re all celebrating, but you’ve got to get it lower, not just 116 in a day, but lower than 100 over a two-week period,” she told Neil Mitchell.

Press PLAY below for the full interview.

Professor McLaws said cases must fall to fewer than 100 in a fortnight before restrictions are eased, so effective contact-tracing is possible.

“100 every day is potentially 90 too many. You need it much lower than that so you can do good contact tracing,” she said.

“I’m looking at your two-week average and it’s 3500. That’s an awful lot.

“Other epidemiologists may think I’m being too conservative, but once you get over 100 over about a two incubation period it means this virus can get quickly out of control.”

Professor McLaws revealed the point at which she thinks it will be safe for the Victoria-NSW border to reopen.

“You won’t be able to, I don’t think, open up your border to NSW until you get to what I call the green zone, the safe zone, which is somewhere between zero and 59 infections over a 14-day period,” she said.

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