The new, improved contract tracking is facing its biggest test when...

The new, improved contract tracking is facing its biggest test when...
The new, improved contract tracking is facing its biggest test when...
For the first time since June 9, no new cases of coronavirus were announced on Monday. Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, who had been eagerly awaiting the test results from the north of the city, said: “Now is the time to open up.”

La Trobe University epidemiologist Associate Professor Hassan Vally said contact tracers would face new challenges as Victorians could go shopping and eating out again starting Wednesday.

“Once you open up, people will be in contact with more people, so the workload of interviewing each case will potentially increase,” he said.

But he believes the state’s tracking team is up to it.

“If you look at what has happened in the past few weeks with the response to that outbreak in the northern suburbs, the response to Shepparton and Kilmore, then this is evidence that I would have thought we should have full faith in them Have public health response. ”

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Just two weeks ago, Professor Tony Blakely from the University of Melbourne told one of the authors of the modeling behind Victoria’s road map Age he thought it unlikely that the state would ever reduce the daily numbers to zero.

“I’m pleasantly surprised that we got down here. I thought it would be a great request to reach her now. It went very well. It’s a bouquet for [Chief Health Officer] Brett Sutton and [Deputy Chief Health Officer] Allen Cheng for saying: let’s work hard. ”

Victoria’s contact tracing system has come under fire for not controlling the state’s second wave, but several experts said they now believe it’s up to the task.

“Your contact tracking is much better now than it was a month ago,” said Dr. Stephen Duckett, Director of Health Programs at the Grattan Institute.

“A lot of people said zero was an impossible goal. And they urged the government to relax restrictions before it was safe because they were so short-sighted and didn’t care about the long term and the risk of a third wave. ”

Professor Euan Wallace, head of contact tracing at Victoria, said Age The latest improvements have been “really good news”.

“If you look at the Kilmore and Shepparton outbursts … they went through literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of interviews in a matter of days, which if we rewind the clock to early July, we simply could never have delivered.” ”

Although Victoria has no new cases, the virus has not been cleared.

Professor Blakely’s modeling suggests that the chance of a serious recurrence of the virus by Christmas was now around 3 percent.

“What we can expect, more generally, is that if we’re not really really lucky and eliminate this thing – which is possible, but with a low probability – there will be cases where cases come up in the same way as NSW” , he said. he said.

Aisha Dow reports on health for The Age and is a former city reporter.

Liam is the science reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald

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