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Covid Victoria: Melbourne lockdown ends as mask rule splits experts

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Leading epidemiologists have labeled the state government’s move to mandate masks outdoors as a Melvernian “burden” with little health evidence.

Melbourne’s blockade will be lifted on Friday, but health professionals have proposed to abolish outdoor masks, despite admitting that the recent outbreak has not transmitted the coronavirus to the outside world. I agreed.

Authorities scramble to find out how a family of four mysteriously caught the virus.

A woman in her 70s and three men in her 80s, 50s, and 20s who live in the same reservoir house tested positive on Wednesday. No one has visited the exposed site or been identified as a close contact with a positive case, and the strain is unknown.

One of the family members is a disability pensioner and the other provides care in an informal environment.

Media_cameraRichard Gibbs and Annette Saker are still wearing masks during the restrictions of walking at the Camberwell junction. Photo: Alex Koppel.
Melbourne closed the blockade at midnight on Thursday.Photo: NCA NewsWire / Ian Curry
Media_cameraMelbourne closed the blockade at midnight on Thursday.Photo: NCA NewsWire / Ian Curry

Allenchen, Deputy Chief Health Officer, said:

However, health officials have considered allowing “cautious” relaxation of Melbourne’s restrictions: reopening schools, 100 restaurant patrons, 50 indoors, and up to 25km of travel.

“We are moving forward, but we are vigilant,” said Acting Prime Minister James Merlino.

Wearing a mask outdoors after both Professor Chen and COVID-19 Commander Yelong Weimar have confirmed that there are no cases in the current cluster, or that recent outbreaks have occurred outdoors. Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of.

“There is no evidence yet to see an outbreak in this particular outbreak, or the latest outbreak we have addressed,” Weimar admitted Thursday.

Professor Chen said there was “quite good evidence” around the mask to reduce infection, and cases where the virus was passed outdoors in the second wave may have been overlooked.

When asked about reports of a one-twentieth chance of being infected outdoors, Professor Chen said: There are still risks. “

Infectious disease expert Professor Peter Corignon said that there was little or no outdoor infection unless it was a crowded situation where people gathered for a long time.

“Unless it’s as unmanageable as in the UK and Europe, I don’t think there are many benefits to wearing a mask outdoors,” said Professor Corignon. “Currently, there is not much community infection in Melbourne.”

Merlino said continuous wearing of the mask is a “small price to pay”.

“We don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing public health advice that we like or dislike,” he said.

Acting Prime Minister James Merlino said Victorian people had to wear masks outdoors.
Media_cameraActing Prime Minister James Merlino said Victorian people had to wear masks outdoors.

Victorian police secretary Shane Patton said Thursday that about 50 people were fined $ 4,500 for “blatant” violations during the recent blockade.

Meanwhile, Queensland officials have confirmed that Melton couples who tested positive for the coronavirus were not exempt from entering the state, but are believed to have moved them for work.

Both couples, in their 40s, left Melbourne on June 1st, traveled to New South Wales, and then arrived on the Sunshine Coast on June 5th.

They first showed symptoms on June 3, but little information about the incident is available, as Victorian contact tracers are now in the hands of Queensland authorities.

Professor Chen pointed out that the new incident could stall the deregulation planned in the Melbourne metropolitan area from Thursday, June 17.

“You may need to keep your current settings a little longer,” said Professor Chen.

Call to open a school when it occurs

With 200,000 Victorian children returning to class today after the fourth severe blockade, there is increasing pressure to keep schools open during the Covid-19 outbreak.

A committee of internationally recognized infectious disease specialists and pediatricians believes that closure should be a last resort, as students have a low infection rate and adversely affect their children.

They recommend that all Australian states and territories “establish national strategies and commitments to keep schools open” with systems and funding to measure policy effectiveness. I am.

“Teachers and school staff also need to prioritize the Covid vaccine, especially in environments with a high incidence of Covid-19. Our children depend on it,” said Dr Archana Koirala, lead author at the University of Sydney. I am. A global analysis published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health included 1635 Victorian infections in school and early learning environments from 2020.

They found that two-thirds of Victorian school-related outbreaks of Covid-19 were single cases of restricted infection, with 92% less than 10 cases.

North Melbourne Elementary School was closed after students tested positive for COVID-19.
Media_cameraNorth Melbourne Elementary School was closed after students tested positive for COVID-19.

One of the researchers, Professor Sharon Goldfeld of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said: “Cases in this age group are less likely to be contagious and less likely to be associated with outbreaks, so schooling, especially for nurseries and elementary school students Closing should be a last resort. “

From nearly one million Victorian school students, 337 students and 139 staff may have acquired Covid-19 due to the outbreak of school last year.

Of these, four staff and four students went to the hospital and all recovered.

Researchers found little evidence of future transmission of cases from schools and early learning centers, especially among young children.

Victorian children have lost school for 23 and a half weeks in the last two years. In contrast, New South Wales has seven weeks, Queensland has five weeks, and South Australia and NT have only one week.

However, Education Minister James Merlino defended the closure on Thursday, saying “schools play an important role in limiting the movement of Victorian people and thus limiting the spread of the virus.”

Dr. Koirala and her team said data from Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia show that “school infections are low, Covid-19 safe practices and effectiveness for testing, contact tracing, and isolation. It can be mitigated by various measures. “

Initially issued as follows Once the city blockade is over, virus experts split with mask rules

Place of originCovid Victoria: Melbourne lockdown ends as mask rule splits experts

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