Australians have dropped their guard and haven’t been seeking tests when symptomatic, professor Sharon Lewin says, which has heavily impacted the spread of the virus which plunged Melbourne into its fourth lockdown.
“People are just getting complacent. We’ve all had very normal lives for the last close to over 80 days here in Melbourne,” Professor Lewin said on Today.
“It’s very easy to think that COVID has gone away and, therefore, you just are not as rigorous around getting testing if symptomatic, doing QR codes, feeling that you have to get a vaccine.
“This has been a really good reminder not just to Melburnians but to the whole country that COVID has not gone away, it can enter anywhere at any time, it’s nothing unique to Melbourne specifically, it could happen anywhere.
“It’s a reminder we just have to keep up that vigilance, QR codes, testing if symptomatic.”
However, Prof. Lewin stopped short of blaming the pace of the country’s vaccine rollout, saying that “the problem is the virus”.
“It’s really terrible to be in this situation, it’s really frustrating to have another lockdown,” she said.
“People want to point the finger somewhere and it’s not always that easy. The problem is the virus, the virus is tricky and it has leaked in…you can never have a 100 per cent perfect quarantine system.
“We can always improve it, but it will never be 100 per cent, so we’ve just got to make sure we can do everything we can to protect Australians and the best thing we have at the moment – something that would change the future of how we respond to COVID – is vaccination.
“The more people that get vaccinated, the easier it will be to manage this sort of event in the future.”
Prof. Lewin added that she expects seven days will be a sufficient amount of time to contain the outbreak.
“I’m pretty confident seven days should be sufficient. The reviews from circuit-breaker lockdowns in other states, they have been three to five days.”