Coronavirus Australia: Extended lockdown in WA ‘unavoidable’ even with 90 per cent vaccination rates
Long lockdowns in Western Australia would be ‘inevitable’ even with 90 percent of the population fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Mark McGowan claims.
Modeling presented to the WA government predicts 2,000 new coronavirus cases a day if the border were to open at that time and require a six-week lockdown to monitor.
University of Western Australia Professor George Milne presented the grim forecast to Mr McGowan two weeks ago to help with reopening plans.
Long lockdowns in Western Australia would be ‘inevitable’ even with 90 percent of population fully vaccinated, new model claims
WA faces cut off from rest of country long after international travel returns to other states, with Prime Minister Mark McGowan refusing to open up ahead of Christmas
He claimed that in the five months after the border with Australia and the rest of the world opened, WA would see 300,000 new Covid cases, 1,750 hospitalizations and 255 deaths.
The modeling estimates that each person who tested positive for Covid-19 would infect an additional six people – far more than the 1.3 seen in the NSW outbreak.
Professor Milne said: The Sydney Morning Herald the contagious Delta variant cannot be controlled with vaccination coverage alone to contain future outbreaks.
“The simple answer is we have to have an early shutdown with 80 or 90 percent coverage to prevent a burst of cases,” he said.
He said WA residents would be stuck in something akin to Victoria’s phase three lockdown with a 90 percent vaccination rate.
In phase three restrictions, people who can be encouraged to work from home with residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons.
New models presented to Western Australian health officials have predicted a six-week shutdown and 2,000 daily cases if the state reopens with a 90 percent vaccination rate (pictured, a woman receives a dose of Pfizer in Perth)
The modeling was presented to WA’s state government two weeks ago as part of the state’s plan to live alongside the coronavirus (pictured, a couple from Perth walking their dog in June)
Cafes and restaurants may only serve takeaway, gyms, shops, pubs and entertainment venues must close their shops.
Professor Milne said keeping schools open would extend the lockdown until about six weeks before the outbreak was under control enough to ease restrictions.
The professor admitted he doesn’t believe the state will ever achieve a 90 percent vaccination rate, but said the more doses in the arms, the milder the lockdown.
Such predictions imply that WA would never be able to safely open its borders, and seem to fuel Mr McGowan’s refusal to open along with the rest of the country.
Professor Milne’s modeling is in stark contrast to that of the Doherty Institute, which underpins the national reopening plan.
The Doherty Institute advised that lifting lockdowns with hundreds of daily cases at 70 percent vaccination would not drastically change epidemiological modeling.
WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan (pictured) has stated that the domestic border may remain closed until April 2022, meaning Western Australians could remain isolated for another seven months
The report also suggested that with high vaccination coverage there would be minimal impact on children and teenagers, but the shot is now being rolled out to children over 12 years of age.
Number crackers at the institute also say there was no need to wait for the two-week immunity delay to take effect, as it was already factored into the data.
In July, the cabinet agreed to set second dose thresholds of 70 and 80 percent to significantly reduce the prospect of lockdowns.
NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian promised Sydneysiders that the state would begin to reopen at 70 percent double dose, with even fewer restrictions at 80 percent, including domestic and international travel.
However, McGowan refused to give in to opening his border to the rest of the country until well after Christmas.
He has since stated that the inland border may remain closed until April 2022, meaning Western Australians could remain isolated for another seven months.
Western Australia is currently lagging behind the rest of the country in vaccine rollouts, with about 38.2 percent of residents completely stung (pictured, health workers prepare vaccines)
McGowan said he will wait for his state to reach between 85 and 90 percent vaccination coverage to open, but he has not said when that target will be met.
The Prime Minister condemned ‘smug’ Sydneysiders enjoying the sun outside for the weekend and doubled down on threats to keep his border closed.
“There’s a headlong rush about these things in Sydney and Melbourne, but that’s because Sydney and Melbourne are on lockdown,” Mr McGowan said on Sunday.
“And that’s because so many people in Sydney think there’s no Australia outside of Sydney.”
WA – along with Queensland – is lagging behind the rest of the country in vaccine rollout, with about 38.2 percent of residents fully immunized.
What are the four stages of opening?
A. Vaccinating, preparing and testing (from 14 July)
Arrival caps halved to 3,035 per week; early, severe and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available in apps like Apple Wallet
B. Post-vaccination phase (when 70 percent will be stung, expected by the end of this year)
Lockdowns ‘less likely but possible’; vaccinated people face reduced disabilities; limits for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger limit for vaccinated arrivals with ‘reduced quarantine requirements’; limited entry for students and economic visa holders
C. Consolidation Phase (when 80 percent is pricked, time not announced)
Removal of all outbound travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers; no limits for vaccinated arrivals; increased limits for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles arise with countries like Singapore; booster shots rolled out
D. Final phase (percentage or time not disclosed)
Unlimited arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and unlimited arrivals for unvaccinated people with pre-departure and on-arrival testing