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An infectious diseases expert says the Victorian government needs to analyse where COVID-19 is spreading in the state, with a warning that vulnerable people should be taking more precautions against the virus.

With Victoria recording 1362 new cases on Friday morning – the highest number since the start of November – infectious diseases paediatrician Professor Robert Booy said the state’s reopening was “certainly the source of infections”.

“Victoria started opening up with a large number of cases,” the University of Sydney professor told 3AW Mornings.

“New South Wales never got more than 1500 a day. So for the Victorian population, you should only be maxing at 1100 to 1200 but you’ve been as high as 2000,” he said.

“So I think complacency, lethargy, and having more cases when you started that NSW did are affecting what you are experiencing.” Professor Booy said the state’s health authorities needed to look carefully at transmission to identify the most concerning areas of growing infection. “Focused, intentional improvements could make a real difference,” he said.

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“I think Victoria also suffered from complacency, and even more than complacency – lethargy. The lockdowns got so long and so many people lost the energy to be quite as careful as they had been.”

He said Victorians could put “sensible” restrictions on themselves to reduce the spread, such as mask-wearing indoors and continuing to social distance.

“I think people who are at risk should be taking their own personal precautions for a start,” he said.

“Vaccinated people can catch a mild breakthrough infection. But if you’ve got a chronic major medical problem you could get – despite vaccination – a moderate or severe illness.

“I think the government should reassess what’s happening over the last week and actually look carefully at who is getting infected… Look at where the transmission is happening: ‘Is it in particular workplaces? Is it in particular households in particular areas?’ and focusing on where it’s an issue.”



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