News, Culture & Society

Allison Langdon calls out expert for claiming Melbourne should wait for 90% Covid double-vaccination

Allison Langdon has called out a health expert for arguing Melbourne should wait until 90 per cent of its residents are vaccinated against Covid before ending lockdowns for good.

Victoria recorded 603 new cases of the virus and one death on Tuesday – the highest daily rise in infections in the state since August 1 of last year.

Victoria’s Department of Health said the positive results came from 48,829 tests, as 40,811 vaccine doses were administered overnight.

Burnet Institute modelling shows Victoria’s Covid-19 cases will peak at between 1,400 and 2,900 per day between October 19 and 31. 

A University of Melbourne study has claimed a state with the population of Victoria would still need to lockdown for 58 per cent of the year at 80 per cent double dose to keep the annual Covid-19 death rate below 1,000.

Epidemiologist Tony Blakely, the report’s co-author, said lockdowns could only be a thing of the past once 90 per cent of all Australians over the age of five are vaccinated.

The Today show co-host on Tuesday though questioned if such a goal could even be achieved when no country in the world had yet reached a 90 per cent vaccination rate.   

‘Can I ask why you’re confident that we will get to 90 per cent when we’ve seen no country anywhere in the world reach that point?’ she asked.

Professor Blakely said countries such as Singapore, which has an 81 per cent double-dose rate, were on their way to reaching that figure.

‘I believe we will get there, but it won’t be overnight,’ he said. ‘It will be slower progress from 80 to 90 per cent than it has been so far.’

The new study claims social distancing rules will still be needed during 2022 to keep case numbers low, including mandatory mask orders, hospitality and office density limits and strict restrictions on the unvaccinated.

Pictured: A vaccination clinic in Broadmeadows, Melbourne on September 15. New modelling has claimed a state with the population of Victoria would still need to lockdown for 58 per cent of the year at 80 per cent double dose to keep the annual death rate below 1,000

However, researchers claim only at a 90 per cent full immunisation rate would the virus’s spread reach an acceptable level – about 190 Covid hospitilisations a year.

‘It’s inevitable in my view we will be vaccinating five-plus-year-olds before year’s end,’ Professor Blakely said.

‘You need as many people vaccinated as possible to try to dampen this virus down.’ 

Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday announced Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdowns, before spending most of Monday justifying his planned cautious return to normality as the only way of opening up, while helping to avoid deaths and the risk of overwhelming hospital wards. 

‘We have a game plan now,’ he said on Monday.

Epidemiologist Tony Blakely said lockdowns could only be a thing of the past once 90 per cent of all Australians over the age of five are vaccinated

'Can I ask why you're confident that we will get to 90 per cent when we've seen no country anywhere in the world reach that point?' Langdon asked

Epidemiologist Tony Blakely (left) said lockdowns could only be a thing of the past once 90 per cent of all Australians over the age of five are vaccinated – but his argument was questioned by Today show host Allison Langdon (right)

‘So people can find fault with the national plan, they can find fault with the roadmap, and all of that.

‘They’re blessed with not having to deliver all of these balancing acts and I’m happy for them.’

Victorian Pharmacy Guild president Anthony Tassone said 440 pharmacies in the state will receive the Moderna vaccine this week, and another 281 next week.

Pharmacies will now be administering AstraZeneca and Moderna.

Four police stations in outer Melbourne were closed to the public after six officers tested positive to coronavirus.

In the city centre, officers in riot gear had to quell a violent protest led by construction workers outside the CFMEU’s Melbourne headquarters.

Protesters called on the union to shut down the construction industry in defiance of new regulations that mean workers must have proof of their first vaccination by Friday.

But on Monday night the state government announced a shutdown of construction for two weeks from 11.59pm on Monday in metropolitan Melbourne and other Local Government Areas currently in lockdown.

‘We’ve been clear: if you don’t follow the rules, we won’t hesitate to take action – we have seen widespread non-compliance across the industry and that’s why we’re taking necessary steps to protect every single Victorian,’ Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said in a statement.

A protest turned violent outside CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne, prompting the state government to shut down the entire  industry

A protest turned violent outside CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne, prompting the state government to shut down the entire  industry

‘We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on site and on our streets, and now we’re acting decisively and without hesitation.’

The government said all sites will need to demonstrate compliance with the Chief Health Officer’s directions prior to reopening including the requirement for workers to show evidence of having had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before they return to work on October 5.

In the 24 hours to Monday, 50,915 tests were processed and 39,939 Victorians received a vaccine dose at state-run hubs.

The state’s roadmap out of lockdown was released on Sunday, detailing small changes to restrictions when 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received a single vaccine dose.

Melbourne’s lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians are double-vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26.

At that stage, the city’s curfew will be lifted, the travel limit will increase to 25km and hospitality can open outdoors for 50 fully vaccinated people.

A protester is pictured screaming in the face of police officers monitoring the rally on Monday (pictured) as the situation became increasingly heated

A protester is pictured screaming in the face of police officers monitoring the rally on Monday (pictured) as the situation became increasingly heated

Once the 80 per cent double-dose target is met, forecast for November 5, the travel limit is scrapped, retail, gyms and beauty services will reopen for the fully vaccinated and hospitality will resume indoors.

Also under the plan, interstate and international travel can resume once 80 per cent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

The opposition and business groups have described it as ‘a roadmap with roadblocks’, saying the plan is too conservative when compared with NSW.

The roadmap is based on Burnet Institute modelling, which shows Victoria’s COVID-19 cases will peak at between 1400 and 2900 per day between October 19 and 31. 

Victoria construction industry shut down 

The shutdown was announced late on Monday following violent protests outside the CFMEU’s head office in Melbourne’s CBD over a vaccine mandate for the industry.

It applies to work sites across Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Mitchell Shire and the Surf Coast.

Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said the shutdown was required to cut down movement, reduce COVID-19 transmission and give the industry time to adapt to the new requirements.

‘We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on-site and on our streets, and now we’re acting decisively and without hesitation,’ he said in a statement.

An amnesty will be in place on Monday so that a limited number of workers can attend construction sites to shut them down safely.

The government said all sites will need to demonstrate compliance with the chief health officer’s directions prior to reopening, including the requirement for workers to show evidence of having had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before they return to work on October 5.

The Property Council of Australia said the shutdown would cost the economy $1.1 billion a week.

‘The majority of construction sites and construction workers are doing everything required of them to meet the highest standards of COVID safety and have done so since the pandemic started,’ executive director Danni Hunter said in a statement.

‘Closing the industry will prevent them going to work and getting paid and it will stall projects causing immensely costly delays, putting projects and Victorian jobs at risk.’

Opposition industry spokeswoman Bridget Vallence said the Andrews government must immediately reverse its ‘panicked decision’.

‘The Liberal Nationals condemn the violent protests, but the actions of a few should not be used as an excuse to shut down an entire industry, putting tens of thousands of people out of work,’ she said in a statement.

Union officials say Monday’s protesters were not all CFMEU members and blamed ‘neo-Nazi’s and right-wing extremists’ for hijacking the event.

The protest escalated when two union officials, including Victorian construction branch secretary John Sekta, came outside the Elizabeth Street office to speak to protesters just before midday.

Mr Setka was met with boos and insults from the crowd, while some protesters hurled bottles.

‘Please calm down. Can you at least give me the respect to talk? We’re not the enemy, I don’t know what you have heard,’ he told protesters.

‘I have never, ever said I support mandatory vaccination.’

Once Mr Setka went back inside, the protesters smashed a glass door to the building.

Some said they would come to the CFMEU office every day until the union bows to their demands.

Construction sites have been a place of high spread in the latest outbreak, forcing health officials to close tearooms last week.

It comes as Victoria on Monday recorded the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases in the current outbreak, with 567 new locally-acquired cases and one death – a Moreland woman in her 70s.

The state’s roadmap out of lockdown was released on Sunday, detailing small changes to restrictions when 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received a single vaccine dose.

Melbourne’s lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians are double-vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk