How one coronavirus patient could infect FOUR HUNDRED people and cause an ‘explosion’ in case numbers if social distancing measures are relaxed
- Professor Kelly said case numbers could ‘explode’ if restrictions are relaxed
- He said mass testing and a readiness to re-introduce restrictions were key
- Several virus treatments are being developed and are in clinical trials
Coronavirus case numbers could ‘explode’ if restrictions are relaxed, Professor Paul Kelly warned today.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer said easing social distancing measures could have serious implications ‘down the track.’
‘If we don’t have these measures, one person can lead to 400 other cases within a month,’ he said.
‘That is the sort of explosive epidemic we’ve seen in other countries. And we just cannot afford at this stage to be considering that happening.’
Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has dismissed rumours that a cure has been found for coronavirus
Despite the stark warning, Professor Kelly hinted at what the ‘road out’ might look like for Australia.
He said mass testing and a readiness to re-introduce restrictions were key.
‘The fear is that as we start to lift those measures and allow people to get on with their lives, there are still a lot of susceptible people left in the population who could get infected, and we want to avoid seeing a further outbreak occur,’ he said.
‘To prevent that we really need to have very good testing, very good situational awareness of what might be happening out there in the population as we lift those measures.
‘We need to be ready to detect and isolate cases as soon as they’re discovered, and potentially to re-introduce some of those social distancing measures if we get a hint of a second wave.’
On a positive note, Professor Kelly said the infection rate was heading below one, meaning one patient passes the virus on to less than one person on average.
‘Once you get to that point, the epidemic dies out. At the moment, we’re probably on the cusp of that in Australia,’ he said.
At the start of today’s press conference, the professor addressed claims in media around the world that doctors are close to a cure.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,183
New South Wales: 2,822
South Australia: 421
Western Australia: 495
Australian Capital Territory: 103
Northern Territory: 28
TOTAL CASES: 6,183
‘I just want to reiterate that there is no specific treatment yet proven to be able to cure this virus,’ he said.
Professor Kelly said several treatments are being developed and are in clinical trials.
He also said he was ‘concerned’ about reports that people in Japan and South Korea have been infected again after overcoming the virus, leading to fears the virus is mutating.
If people can get re-infected then making a vaccine is going to be much harder.
‘If immunity does not last for a long time that has implications for the vaccine. If there are slight changes in the virus that leads us to be able to be re-infected, that also has vaccine implications,’ he said.
Earlier today it was announced that a man in New South Wales and a person in Victoria have died of coronavirus, taking the national death toll to 53.
The victim in NSW was a 69-year-old Newcastle man who caught the virus on a trip inter-state. The Victorian’s age and gender have not been released.
There were 49 new cases in NSW on Thursday, a modest increase from 39 new cases on Wednesday.
Thirteen new cases were recorded in Victoria while Queensland reported 12 new cases and no deaths.
Three new cases were recorded in the ACT, taking the territory’s total to 103.
Stranded Australian travellers arrive at Melbourne International Airport after flying from Peru
Australia has significantly fewer confirmed cases of COVID-19 than other countries