A top doctor behind Australia’s Covid modelling has thrown her support behind eased rules to isolation and close contacts, despite predicting Omicron cases will surge to ‘very high’ levels.  

Professor Sharon Lewin, the director of the Doherty Institute, said on Friday that the changes most Australian states have made reducing close contact isolation rules to seven days were ‘certainly’ safe.

In an interview with the Today Show, Prof. Lewin said while case numbers are set to surge, evidence from the around the world appears to indicate hospitals won’t be overwhelmed.

‘It’s certainly safe to relax these measures as we have done given what we’re now learning about Omicron,’ Prof Lewin said. 

‘The predictions are that we will see very, very high numbers of cases. But what we are hoping, and based on what we’re seeing around the world, is that it won’t lead to large numbers of hospitalisation.’  

The Doherty Institute director has thrown her support behind easing restrictions despite predicting Omicron cases will surge to 'very high' levels

The Doherty Institute director has thrown her support behind easing restrictions despite predicting Omicron cases will surge to 'very high' levels

The Doherty Institute director has thrown her support behind easing restrictions despite predicting Omicron cases will surge to ‘very high’ levels 

Sharon Lewin said the 'brakes can't come off completely' and warned that some protective measures should still be enforced - such as mask wearing

Sharon Lewin said the 'brakes can't come off completely' and warned that some protective measures should still be enforced - such as mask wearing

Sharon Lewin said the ‘brakes can’t come off completely’ and warned that some protective measures should still be enforced – such as mask wearing

She pointed out the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalisations

She pointed out the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalisations

She pointed out the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalisations

Prof Lewin said the ‘brakes can’t come off completely’ in regards to Covid restrictions. She warned that some protective measures should still be enforced – such as mask wearing. 

However, she pointed out the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalisations. 

The Doherty Institute has repeatedly provided Covid-19 modelling to the National Cabinet in regards to when the country can safely open up.

The latest modelling – leaked earlier this month – claimed Australia could record as many as 200,000 cases a day by the end of January in a worst case scenario.

As a part of the predicted 200,000 cases a day, researchers predicted hospitalisations could hit 4,000 a day – putting a heavy strain on the medical system. 

NSW recorded 21,151 cases on New Year’s Eve and Victoria reported 5,919 infections. 

The Doherty Institute claims without low-to-medium restrictions being mandated, including limits on visitors and density in pubs, cafes and restaurants, the country could face millions of Covid cases within weeks.

A medical worker runs at the St Ives drive-thru clinic as drivers wait in queue after NSW reported a pandemic record 21,151 cases on Friday

A medical worker runs at the St Ives drive-thru clinic as drivers wait in queue after NSW reported a pandemic record 21,151 cases on Friday

A medical worker runs at the St Ives drive-thru clinic as drivers wait in queue after NSW reported a pandemic record 21,151 cases on Friday 

Large queues have formed all around Sydney with a line of cars waiting outside the St Ives drive-thru

Large queues have formed all around Sydney with a line of cars waiting outside the St Ives drive-thru

Large queues have formed all around Sydney with a line of cars waiting outside the St Ives drive-thru

She pointed out the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalisations

She pointed out the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalisations

She pointed out the Omicron strain was less severe than other variants, such as Delta, and would lead to fewer hospitalisations 

‘There will be some hospitalisation,’ Prof Lewin said. ‘So, we can’t take the brakes off completely here which means why it’s important to still wear masks when you are out.’ 

‘That’s why it’s important anyone eligible for boosters should be getting them now, at four months.

‘Even if Omicron is much less severe, having a very large pool of people that are infected still puts pressure on our healthcare system.’ 

More to come 

Source: Daily Mail

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