One of Australia's epidemiologists says Australia should look to South Korea as an example of how the so-called "tight suppression" strategy could play out.
Epidemiologist Tony Blakely today shot down the idea that Victoria will hit single figure new case numbers any time soon – suggesting it may never happen until there is a vaccine. He said a prediction that the state would hit single figures by next weekend is "not possible".
"We are about 10 per cent a day coming down, which is good," he told the Today show. "But to achieve single digits requires 40 per cent. The person who did that estimate made a mathematical error."
He said Victoria may not hit single figures "at all".
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"If we continue at the current trend, we're going to hit somewhere around 30 by the time we come out of lockdown in two weeks' time on September 13," he said. "So single digits might be something that happens if we come very slowly out of lockdown and control it really well. Single digits is some time away, I'm afraid, if at all."
He said that elimination of the virus now looks "too hard" for Australia, and that they should look to South Korea as an example of how a so-called "tight suppression" strategy could play out.
South Korea counted its 18th straight day of triple-digit daily jumps in coronavirus cases yesterday. Some 187 of the nation's 248 new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the centre of the viral resurgence this month.
"They have done tight suppression really well but they're in the middle of a break-out of 200 to 300 cases a day," he said. "They're the best case example we've got. Outbreaks are possible.
"We want to control that without harsh lockdowns which really does return to the Victorian government doing very good contact tracing, very good testing, citizens using masks in and the outdoor environments and be sensible and not have mass group gatherings. It's a very different world but it's our reality."