Over the weekend, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made it clear that the Victorian lockdown definitely won’t end this Thursday. So now the question turns to when it will end, and what restrictions may be lifted in the coming weeks.
According to the ABC, Victoria is at a fork in the road and could go one of two ways. Either the state stays in a hard lockdown to drive numbers down to zero OR it can consider a ‘soft lockdown’ until we hit that sweet spot of 70 / 80% vaccinations.
University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely, who helped with Victoria’s second lockdown, reckons “it’s possible” to get to very low case numbers, but he estimates that could take “six weeks”.
“All I’m saying is that these are our two options,” Blakely said.
“We either keep going for elimination or we live with it and either get the numbers stable, even let them go up a little bit then come down.”
However, this all depends on what happens in the coming days/weeks. Speaking at a press conference today, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said that they are hoping to see a trend that cases are stabilising.
“But it’s a huge effort required for the Delta variant and it only takes us dropping our guard just a little bit for that transmission with the Delta variant to occur to household members and within the community,” he said.
If an elimination strategy becomes “impossible” even with a hard lockdown, then the government may have to look at alternative options.
“We have to do what is feasible, we are not going to achieve the impossible if it becomes impossible,” Sutton said.
“But the aggressive suppression strategy is pretty explicit … to get to zero if you can, but not with some absurd hope if numbers continue to increase despite everything that you’re doing.”
So what restrictions can we expect to see loosened in the coming weeks of this crucial Victorian lockdown?
Well, according to Brett Sutton “everything is up for review” but it’s likely that playgrounds will be reopened.
The Age also reports that year 12 students may be let back into classrooms.
No word about “getting on the beers” at this stage.