Australia

'Movement means virus': Premier says Melbourne's 5km rule is still needed

The rule confining Melburnians to within five kilometres of their homes remains necessary, despite doubts about how effective it is in decreasing transmission of coronavirus, Premier Daniel Andrews says.

Several leading infectious disease experts have said they are unconvinced about the merits of the five-kilometre rule, which is set to remain in place until October 19.

Deakin University epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett has questioned why the state government was yet to use epidemiological modelling to test the effectiveness of its five-kilometre rule.

Mr Andrews on Tuesday pushed back on any scepticism of it.

"With the greatest of respect to Catherine Bennett, she's not the Chief Health Officer," he said.

"This strategy is working. The numbers are coming down and there are aggregate benefits from each of the measures we've taken. That doesn't mean that... every person from public health across the world would necessarily agree with every decision we've made but have you to call these things and that's what we've done.

"Movement means virus. It's as simple as that. It's about reducing movement. That's what stay at home orders are all about. That's what just about every single one of the measures we've put in place - it's about reducing movement."

Victoria recorded 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and seven more deaths.

The number of active cases in the state dropped from 359 to 326. Today's figures bring the state's rolling 14-day average to 18.9.

That number needs to be five or less, for the five-kilometre rule to be lifted as Melbourne moves to step three of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

With most of Victoria's new coronavirus cases linked to essential workers, including in aged care and at hospitals, leading infectious diseases physician Professor Peter Collignon said the 5km-radius rule was increasingly futile.

"It’s like measles and german measles," he said of COVID-19. "We are not going to eliminate it or keep it eliminated. We have to have rules that make biological sense, but that don't restrict us so badly that we can’t function in any sort of life."

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