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Deputy CMO ‘cautiously optimistic’ restrictions are working

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd says Australia should be cautiously optimistic that current coronavirus restrictions are starting to work.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd says Australia should be cautiously optimistic that current coronavirus restrictions are starting to work.

He said the country needs to take a "wait and see" approach in coming days to ensure border closures and strict lockdown measures in Victoria are working.

"We have seen the total number of new cases continue to decline over the past week since stage four restrictions were introduced in Melbourne – stage three restrictions right across Victoria," Professor Kidd told Today.

"But it is still early in the process. I think we have to wait and see what happens over the coming week just to make sure that downward slope continues over the days ahead."

Victoria today recorded its lowest number of COVID-19 cases in weeks – with 278 people diagnosed in the past 24 hours. Eight people died.

It comes after the state recorded its worst day for coronavirus deaths yesterday, with 21 people – mainly elderly - losing their lives to the virus.

Professor Kidd said that sadly, as more cases are identified, with more people getting tested, the rate of death could continue to climb as well.

LIVE UPDATES: All the latest on coronavirus in Australia

Australian Defence Force staff (ADF) and Victorian police are seen on patrol as a lockdown of Melbourne forces people to stay at home if not working, providing care or buying groceries.

"The tragedy of the very high levels of community transmission we have seen over the last few weeks in Victoria, is that it leads to the cases we are seeing in aged care," Professor Kidd said.

He said current border restrictions should remain in place if state leaders believe it is the most appropriate option, even for states and territories with lower cases of community transmission.

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"We have such high levels of community transmission in Victoria, it is sensible to restrict the movement of people from areas of community transmission to the rest of the country," he said.

"If we allow (border lifts) to happen, we are going to see community transmission appearing in other parts of the country."

READ MORE: Australia's coronavirus cases by numbers 

Professor Kidd also said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's insistence on people wearing masks when in close proximity to others is tough but warranted.

"I think that the state is getting tough. We've seen these measures announced by the premier over the last couple of weeks and we have seen the continuing low level of community transmission running across NSW," he said.

"I think it is very wise people in hotspots are wearing a mask when they leave their homes, particularly in circumstances where they cannot maintain physical distancing or if you are a person vulnerable to COVID-19."

You can  get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.

Beyond Blue's Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800 512 348.

For coronavirus breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the 9News app and set notifications to on at the App Store or Google Play.

Source: 9News

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