3 August 2020
Victoria shuts non-essential businesses, introduces curfew
Welcome to The Medical Republic‘s COVID Catch-Up.
It’s the day’s COVID-19 news into one convenient post. Got any tips, comments or feedback? Email me at [email protected]
- Stage 4 restrictions for Melbourne as Premier declares state of disaster in Victoria.
- Some take months to achieve SARS-CoV-2 negative tests after infection.
- Closing non-essential businesses the most effective public health intervention, study suggests.
- GP conference cancelled
- Latest confirmed COVID-19 infection figures from around Australia.
- Victorian Premier Dan Andrews introduced stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and declared a state of disaster in Victoria yesterday, saying that anything less than this would have seen another six months of hundreds of new COVID-19 cases each day.
The restrictions for metro Melbourne include a nightly curfew, movement restricted to within five kilometres of one’s home, only one hour of exercise outside the home each day, and only one person from a household allowed to shop once a day within a 5 km radius. Regional Victoria is now on Stage 3 restrictions.
Today the Premier announced closure of non-essential businesses such as retail, manufacturing and administration, and restrictions on others such as meatworks and construction. However he reassured Victorians that supermarkets, grocery and food stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, banks, newsagencies, post offices and healthcare facilities would remain open.
“All of these changes are about limiting the number of people we come in contact with,” Premier Andrews said at a press conference yesterday, describing the pandemic as “perhaps the biggest challenge we have ever faced.”
The new restrictions including closing schools, preschools and day care, except for children of essential workers or those in vulnerable situations. Restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms will close from midnight on Wednesday 5 August, with hospitality outlets offering non-contact take-away only.
For those who are struggling with the impact of this second wave of the pandemic and the associated restrictions, the federal government is providing 10 additional Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions for individuals in areas affected by the increased restrictions.
- A small Australian study in 11 healthcare workers at a single institution has found the median time from first positive SARS-CoV-2 test to the second of two negative tests was 32.5 days, but the longest time was 53 days.
According to a non-peer-reviewed preprint paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia, all the healthcare workers in the study had mild infections, and none received any immunomodulatory or antiviral treatment.
“The findings in our cohort indicate that persistent positivity is the norm and is in line with international studies,” the authors wrote.
- As Victoria closes down non-essential businesses, a study has estimated that this particular public health intervention achieves the greatest reductions in COVID-19’s reproduction rate.
A non-peer-reviewed preprint published in MedRxiv has compared the impact of eight non-pharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19 in 41 countries.
The study suggested that mandated mask-wearing in public places was associated with a 2% mean reduction in R, limiting gatherings to 10 people or less was associated with a 36% reduction, and closing most non-essential business was associated with a 40% reduction. Closing schools and universities was a close second in impact, with a 39% reduction, while stay-at-home orders were associated with an 18% reduction.
Implementing all eight interventions– including limiting gatherings to 1000 people or 100 people, or closing some business – was associated with an 82% reduction in R.
- It’s not official yet, but TMR is hearing the Brisbane GPCE event scheduled for 11-13 September – “one of the most important CPD events on the general practice calendar!” according to its website – has finally been cancelled thanks to the pandemic. We admire Reed Exhibitions for keeping the dream alive for so long, but now that Melbourne attendees are confined to a 5km radius from their homes and under a night curfew, it seems all hope is extinguished. Face-to-face education and conferencing, for any kind of health worker, looks like a dead industry walking until we have a vaccine.
- Here are the confirmed COVID-19 infection numbers around Australia, to 9pm Sunday:
National – 17923, with 200 deaths and 408 hospitalised
ACT – 113
NSW – 3784
NT – 33
QLD – 1085
SA – 453
TAS – 229
VIC – 11,557
WA – 669