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Why an epidemiologist thinks it may be wise to ease some lockdown rules on grand final day

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Why an epidemiologist thinks it may be wise to ease some lockdown rules on grand final day

A Melbourne epidemiologist says it may be wise for the state government to allow a slight easing of restrictions on grand final day, because people are going to break the rules anyway.

Victoria is set to hit the 70 per cent first dose vaccination target on Friday, which would trigger a double of the travel limit in Melbourne and the extension of the exercise time limit.

Head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at Melbourne University, Professor Nancy Baxter, told Neil Mitchell the government may need to ease restrictions around public outdoor gatherings.

“There are going to be people who say ‘I’m going to have a grand final party, I don’t care’, have it in their home and then have super-spreader events all over Melbourne,” she said.

“It may be better, on balance, to say we’re going to allow groups of five to 10 people to get together for the grand final, the bubble has to be this big and everyone has to be wearing masks … it can’t be indoors.”

But Professor Baxter says some restrictions are essential, and warned we’re in a “critical time period to keeping the numbers under control”.

She says keeping case numbers down as much as possible now will mean Victoria reopens faster once double-dose vaccination rates reach 70 per cent or 80 per cent.

“If we’re ¬†up to the 2000 numbers by the time we get 70 per cent (double) vaccinated we don’t have the same opportunities to open things like pubs … as we do if we keep the number where they are,” she said.

Press PLAY to hear more about the grand final rule easing Professor Baxter says could be wise

Neil Mitchell
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