An epidemiologist based in Melbourne, which has just gone into a six-week lockdown, says we need to learn from their mistakes and protect our borders.
This morning Melbourne residents woke up to their first day in strict lockdown.
Panicked shoppers have once again stripped shelves of toilet paper as another 134 cases were confirmed in the state of Victoria yesterday and 165 today. The state's total stands at 3098 after nine previous cases were reclassified.
The number of cases now linked to community transmission has jumped to 447 and there are now 932 active cases in Victoria.
There are 40 people hospitalised with COVD-19, including nine in intensive care.
Victoria has now seen a triple-digit increase in cases for the fourth day in a row, with the state recording 617 new cases since Monday.
Police have stopped a number of drivers attempting to flee over the NSW-Victoria border.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said today that starting Friday, anyone who has been in Victoria in the previous two weeks will be barred from entering Queensland.
South Australia Premier Steven Marshall says people returning to South Australia from Victoria must get tested for Covid-19.
It comes after hundreds of travellers made a last-minute dash from Victoria to SA before the hard border closure came into effect.
Epidemiologist professor Tony Blakely, who is in lockdown in Melbourne, told Morning Report there will be a much stronger police presence this time around.
"It will be different this time. I think there will be a stronger sense of compulsion."
He says, like New Zealand, Australia wants to eliminate the virus and every state and territory apart from New South Wales and Victoria have successfully done so.
"Victoria stands out like a sore thumb. We don't want that case number to keep going up and it was starting to get some real momentum... I do think this was necessary."
Blakely said New Zealand is in a privileged position to have eliminated the virus and we should be protecting our borders "really strongly".
He said Melbourne's current problems began with a leakage out of quarantine and it should serve as a "big lesson" for New Zealand.
"You have no virus, the only way for it to get in is a breach in your international borders. You need to do quarantine really well."
He said it only takes one infected person leaking the virus out of quarantine to turn into an "explosive" situation.
When told about the most recent case of a man escaping quarantine while infected, Blakely said "that's not good."
"There's a lot of luck in it... if that person got out and then passed it on to somebody who worked in healthcare, and then passed it on to 10 different people who lived in 10 different suburbs of Auckland, then you've got a major problem on your hands."
Experts have warned New South Wales could be tipped back into lockdown if it fails to stem coronavirus cases arriving from Victoria.
Epidemiologist and World Health Organisation advisor Professor Mary-Louise McLaws told news.com.au there was an "alert number" of active cases that would see health authorities in NSW too overwhelmed to conduct effective conduct tracing.
She explained that if it gets to 100 cases in 14 days – not including returning travellers in quarantine – then cases could start to double and triple beyond that.
"If we get to 100 outside the quarantine hotels, then it's a difficult control to get it back to a lower number," she said. "The epidemiology shows it's much easier to control small numbers, so we should act now rather than later.
"I hope authorities will revisit the restrictions," she said. "We don't want to do it later. As an epidemiologist, if we wait too long we will find it very difficult to contain this virus."
- with news.com.au