Melbourne are now waking up to the end the sixth lockdown in the city. Melbourne has spent the longest time in lockdown since March 2020 than any other major city in the world. It has been a difficult journey for the five million residents of Melbourne, and other parts of Victoria at different times.
Today’s relaxations reflect Victoria’s milestone of 70% fully vaccinated against COVID earlier that expected. What can Melburnians do now? How did it happen so early than they expected? And how will hospitals handle this?
What Is Going To Change Melbourne?
There are no longer five reasons why people have to leave their home. Ten people can visit homes and the nightly curfew is lift. Within metropolitan Melbourne, there will be no limit on distance.
Hospitality venues can host up to 20 fully vaccinated guests indoors and 50 outside. Outdoor settings, such as cafes, cinemas, and other physical recreation facilities, can open to up to 50 fully vaccinated individuals per location. Fully vaccinate Melburnians will finally able to get their hair cut and have their dogs groom.
Many parents who have been exhaust by home schooling are relieve to see that the staggered school returns of Grade 3 and Year 11 in metropolitan Melbourne begin today.
Is The Roadmap Still In Place Melbourne?
Yes, the previously announced roadmap was modify. Some restrictions, such as travel limits and the ceiling on household gatherings, have been remove in advance.
A school opening schedule also brought forward.
Premier Daniel Andrews cited two factors for these changes: the increased pace of COVID vaccinations and shorter intervals between the first and second doses.
The Burnet Institute’s mid-October modelling provided more optimistic and reassuring estimates about the effect of reopening the health service on services than previous models.
This is partly due to the fact that the assumptions in the revised model are based more on Victorian data than on projections based upon international evidence. On average, the hospital stay is much shorter than expected. After reopening, the chances of overcrowding the hospital have fallen from 63% down to 23%.
Yesterday, Victoria had 3.4% of active cases and 0.6% in ICU. These rates are lower than the ones experienced in NSW during its peak.
What Are Our Next Steps?
A number of institutes including Doherty and Burnet have predicted an increase in cases following the end of lockdowns. Victoria will be able observe the results of the NSW easing restrictions.
There are however important differences between these two states. After 50% of eligible adults had been fully vaccinate in NSW, cases began to decline steadily. The average daily case number was down to 530 the day after the lockdown ended. However, Victoria has almost 2,000 daily new cases per day.
We can also learn from other countries who have relaxed similar vaccination restrictions. There has been much written about Denmark’s relative success in controlling COVID since lifting restrictions.
Denmark did not remove the restrictions until 70% of its population had been fully vaccinated (83 percent of eligible adults). When you consider the entire population, Melbourne only has 55% of its citizens fully vaccinated.
Denmark reported around 500 cases per day when it began to relax restrictions. This was similar to NSW, but the number dropped to 300 days later. The number of cases has increased steadily to 700 per day. The health system can handle around 126 patients being admit to hospital and 11 in ICU.
Portugal has the highest current vaccination rate in the globe – 85% is currently fully vaccinate. In the past 18 months, hospital admissions and COVID rates have fallen to their lowest levels.
It was careful about lifting restrictions. Bars and nightclubs were only permit to reopen last month if the population had received at least 80% of their vaccinations. Customers at entertainment venues must show a digital certificate of vaccination or a negative COVID testing. Masks are still mandatory in certain settings.