No other place in the world has tamed such a great...

No other place in the world has tamed such a great...
No other place in the world has tamed such a great...

As the Victorians fully understand, the virus is also unpredictable. Today, as the crisis accelerates in Europe and elsewhere, Victoria’s “Zero New Cases” are the envy of the world. However, there can be no certainty of where things will be in a few months.

All of this means that a favorable international comparison should not encourage complacency. However, it is true that Victoria’s efforts on the world stage are remarkable. The state’s success has averted significant human tolls and further economic damage. As a result, Australia has a much better chance of returning to an approximation of “normal life” in the New Year.

Victorians should be proud of these efforts, and the vastly disparate results in countries in a similar position should assure them that the effort has paid off.

On August 5, Victoria’s 7-day average daily new cases hit 533, the worst number in Australia.


Several other countries had similar numbers at the time, including Canada, Japan, Singapore, and most of Europe. They had taken different routes to get there. For Europe, these numbers represented a low ebb, not a peak. The trajectories after this time diverged even more dramatically.

The number of cases in several European countries has accelerated sharply and is now much worse than ever. In contrast, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Singapore and Australia have kept the number of cases at a moderate level so far.

But there are also considerable differences between these relatively stable countries. Sweden appears to be on track to repeat the sharp acceleration seen elsewhere in Europe. In Denmark and Japan the number of cases remains at a moderate level, but does not tend towards zero. Only Victoria and Singapore, which peaked at around 300, have returned to single digits.

By suppressing their second wave, Victoria and Singapore are well placed to join a small club of countries that have no or near zero cases, including New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, China and the rest of Australia. The dividend for these countries was economic, not just health related.

Victoria’s suspension was long and difficult, but it now occupies a rare and envious position. While the Victorians are waiting for new freedoms to take the next step towards COVID-normal, they should feel like they have achieved something.

Stephen Duckett is the director of the health program at the Grattan Institute. Tom Crowley is an associate at the Grattan Institute. This article is republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Stephen Duckett is the director of the health program at the Grattan Institute.

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