'No more lockdowns if we keep this up'
There will be no need for Queensland to go into lockdowns if the state treats future COVID outbreaks like it did during the most recent Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster, according to the state's top doctor.
The announcement comes as new modelling from scientists shows partial lockdown and social distancing are still likely in the future. They have discovered that to curb future outbreaks of the virus, social distancing compliance of up to 40 per cent of the population will be required.
As visitor restrictions to hospitals and aged care facilities were lifted yesterday, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the state was able to return to a COVID-normal because of a "textbook response" to the recent outbreak.
"There's no need to go into lockdown when we've got responses like this," she said.
"We've got everyone in quarantine who needs to be in quarantine.
"Anyone who tests positive today or subsequent days, we won't have to do anything because they've already been in quarantine."
The new modelling is from a team at the Centre for Complex Systems from the University of Sydney, headed by Professor Mikhail Prokopenko, who is also a researcher at the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity.
The findings show that even if there is a 90 per cent uptake in the vaccines, under the hybrid vaccination scheme using both Pfizer and AstraZeneca, herd immunity will not be reached.
Gold Coast infectious disease expert Dr John Gerrard said not reaching herd immunity would not be a disaster but it would be a disaster if people did not get their vaccine.
"It's vital, the vaccine is saving lives and protecting us if there is a return of the virus back in Queensland. Also, the vulnerable must be protected from serious illness and the community must play a part in protecting themselves and others. Most credible experts from around the world believe we will not eliminate this virus so we need to be prepared and protected," he said.
The Sydney research has been published in preprint and has not yet been peer-reviewed.
"The good news is that once Australia's hybrid vaccination program is rolled out, the need to comply with social distancing measures in the future will decrease. There will likely be small outbreaks but vaccination of 90 per cent of the population will necessitate only a 30 to 40 per cent compliance with social distancing measures," Professor Prokopenko said.
He said that without partial restrictions the outbreaks could still affect thousands or even tens of thousands of people.
Originally published as Top doc: No more lockdowns if we keep this up