Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Leading expert on Covid lockdowns Catherine Bennett weighs in on Victoria lockdown

One of the nation’s leading experts on Covid lockdowns has questioned whether a snap shut down in Melbourne is necessary, warning it has proven a “panicked” reaction by state premiers in the past.

Deakin University chair in epidemiology Catherine Bennett has told news.com.au that while longer lockdowns successfully “crushed the virus” in the past, the value of shorter lockdowns was worth weighing carefully.

Victoria is considering a snap 5-day lockdown in response to the latest outbreak sparked by a man who is believed to have caught the virus while in hotel quarantine in Adelaide.

But as South Australia shut the border to Victoria on Wednesday night, some epidemiologists say a lockdown may not be required.

“They are insurance policies,’’ Prof Bennett told news.com.au.

“It doesn’t mean you have to have them, but it also doesn’t mean you also put them in place every single time.”

Recently, experts crunched the numbers on 17 Covid outbreaks in Australia since December, noting that six triggered snap state lockdowns. Six were managed by gathering restrictions, and five by contact tracing only.

The analysis found that four of the six lockdowns failed to detect other cases not already isolated through contact tracing.

Only the northern beaches outbreak in Sydney and the Princess Alexandra Hospital outbreaks allowed the rule.

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