United Kingdom

Chilling warning that a widespread outbreak on the scale of Melbourne

A top epidemiologist has ominously declared it is 'only a matter of time' until Australia has a widespread Covid outbreak.

University of Melbourne professor James McCaw predicted cases will increase as people socialise frequently and the virus spread undetected.

He said eventually an outbreak will be cunning enough to successfully avoid the diligent work of contract tracers, and only mass vaccination would stop it. 

University of Melbourne professor James McCaw predicted cases will increase as people socialise frequently and the virus spread undetected 

'We will expect incursions at least once a month and more often. And while we mix more socially, the chance of one of those taking hold goes up very quickly,' he told the Sydney Morning Herald. 

'The virus will win. But it won't have a devastating impact if we are vaccinated.'

Professor McCaw, who is leading a research team providing expertise on the pandemic to the federal government, went onto state the British B117 strain of the virus has the potential to be negative game changer in Australia.

'That strain is more transmissible and is more severe, and the severity comes to lower age groups,' he said.

However, six people who were vaccinated overseas before returning to NSW have tested positive for Covid-19 despite having both their shots.

They were among the 150 cases in hotel quarantine reported by NSW Health between April 10 and May 1.

Doctor McCaw stressed the importance of mass vaccinations (pictured) and not getting complacent

Two more case received both their shots, but became infected within two weeks for the second jab before it took full effect.

Twelve other returned travellers tested positive after getting only one of their jabs.

The federal government aims to vaccinate 48 million people in Australia aged over 16 - and just 2.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered by medical staff to date.

Supply shortages and a complication linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine have been significant factors.

Dr Suman Majumdar, an infectious diseases physician at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, believes the current virus is 'stronger than we have ever seen' and is more powerful than the Wuhan virus which emerged from China in 2020.

With winter looming, there are fears people with symptoms may dismiss them, fearing they just have the common cold.

This could result in the virus spreading rapidly across the nation.

The Federal government aims to vaccinate 48 million people in Australia aged over 16 - and just 2.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered by medical staff to date - (pictured Covid testing at Bondi Beach, in Sydney's east)

Kirsty Short, a virologist based at the University of Queensland, said once the borders are eventually opened, exposure to Covid could be rampant.

'So far there is pretty good vaccine efficiency,' she said.  'That sees people form the belief that personally they don't need to be vaccinated.

'And as soon as the borders are open, Covid could be exposed everywhere.' 

In NSW, health authorities are still looking to uncover the mystery Covid-19 case at the centre of the current outbreak.

A man dubbed Patient X and his wife from Sydney's east both returned positive cases earlier this week. 

No positive tests were recorded on Friday across the state, with over 13,000 people tested.

With the search for the mystery case continuing, masks and increased restrictions will remain in place across Sydney until at least Monday.


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