Coronavirus is unlikely to be permanently eradicated in Victoria, and life over the next six months will not change much, a health expert predicts.
Swinburne Dean of Health Sciences, Professor Bruce Thompson says the state has achieved an “amazing win” by reducing virus levels so low.
But he does not believe the virus will be wiped from Victoria permanently.
“I don’t think so. Worldwide, I don‘t think we’ll definitely do that,” Professor Thompson told 3AW radio on Wednesday.
“It’ll be really interesting once we have a solid vaccine, and I think we’ll be needing multiple vaccines, to actually see what happens with the virus, whether it actually eventually eradicates.”
Melbourne restrictions eased last week, opening up retail and restaurants to customers again.
However, rules remain, including the requirement to wear a mask and socially distance.
Professor Thompson predicts there will be little change to how Victorians are living for months.
“Over the next six months, we’re going to be probably living slightly like this,” he said.
People should rely on mask protection for a while longer and take a cue from other countries where it is commonplace, Professor Thompson said.
“We need to start thinking about it like in other countries, where it’s culturally quite appropriate to wear a mask on a train,” he said.
“If you’re in a fairly high density area, then I would imagine it’d be fairly prudent in the current situation to wear this for a period of time longer.”
Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton on Sunday flagged a transition from universal mask wearing to just wearing them in high-risk settings, such as indoors, at the “appropriate time”.
“Masks are a small impost for the individual, for us collectively, to get us to the freedoms that we’re all looking for and beginning to enjoy,” he told reporters.
If two people together were wearing masks, and one was infected, it could reduce the chance of transmission by at least half.
Victoria on Wednesday recorded its fifth consecutive day of zero new cases and deaths.
There are 30 active cases in the state, all of which are in metropolitan Melbourne.
The state’s death toll stands at 819.