A leading epidemiologist warned that Victoria could be locked out of the country for two years as the state struggles with its resurgence of coronavirus.
Professor Tony Blakely of the University of Melbourne says Victoria’s that COVID-19 numbers could isolate the state if they are not kept under control.
He notes that six out of eight states and territories “have unintentionally removed the virus,” leaving them in a “true dilemma” when it comes to reopening borders.
“Why on earth would they let anybody in if there is enough of a risk they are going to bring the virus?” he told the ABC on Thursday.
“Let’s assume Victoria doesn’t get rid of this virus, we will leave New South Wales aside for a second.
“It means that Victoria will have to function in isolation from the rest of Australia until such time as we get a vaccine.”
Blakely says elimination in Victoria could take up to two years unless lockdown steps are taken, ensuring there are no cases linked to group transmission.
But, he says, Victoria could reduce its cases in a matter of months, with appropriate restrictions.
“At this point in time, six weeks of hard lockdown with masks gets you near 50 per cent chance of achieving elimination within six weeks,” he said.
“That’s probably reduced now, because the case numbers are staying high, but it is still achievable.”