News & Events

29 April 2020

COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery: Go8 Report Released 

The Group of Eight (Go8) Universities and the University of Melbourne today presented the Australian Government with a 'Roadmap to Recovery', a report detailing options for charting Australia’s course through the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Expert Taskforce consisting of a diverse group of over 100 experts worked collaboratively on the project facilitated by the University of Melbourne’s Hunt Laboratory for Intelligence Research over the short period of three weeks.

The Taskforce was co-chaired by Professor Shitij Kapur, MACH Board Chair and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and Vicki Thompson, Chief Executive of the Go8.

A wide range of MACH experts were represented on the Taskforce including MACH Executive Director Professor Sir John Savill and Associate Director Professor David Story.

Professor Story said, “the report demonstrates a great example of experts from diverse backgrounds coming together to provide advice to government.” He continued that this is “a model for providing answers to range of complex questions into the future using an innovative approach to collaboration.”

The report proposes the following two strategies (including some key features of each):

Option 1: Elimination Strategy
 

  • Continuation of the lock-down further than mid-May in certain jurisdictions

  • More extensive testing and contract tracing

  • Likelihood of fewer infections, hospitalisations and deaths than other alternatives

  • Strict international border control measures would remain due to the continued risk of re-introduction of cases from abroad

  • It is likely to create a higher psychological sense of safety allowing for more vigorous economic recovery

Option 2: Controlled Adaptation Strategy
 

  • Gradual relaxation of restrictions and adaptive relaxation of social distancing as early as mid-May

  • Prepares Australians and the system to adapt to living with the ongoing risk of infections acknowledging the likelihood of prolonged global circulation of the infection

  • Minimal level of ongoing infections that can be managed within the health system

  • A risk infection could spike and lead to surges, requiring the re-imposition of strict social distancing measures

  • The difficulty of predicting how confident the public will feel when restrictions are lifted may impact the resumption of economic and social life

Furthermore, through economic modelling the report estimates that the elimination strategy might be expected to deliver approximately 50% more increase in economic output compared to controlled adaptation (refer to Figure 5 and 6).

 

According to the report, either strategy would yield a significantly lower economic loss than if a third “herd immunity” strategy were to be adopted. The “herd immunity” option estimated that 15 million Australians would become infected and was rejected by the Taskforce.

Modelling Australia's economic activity based on the type of strategy implemented (elimination vs controlled adaptation vs uncontrolled "herd immunity") 

Fig5.PNG

Figure 5 compares the economic activity as an outcome of the type of strategy implemented : As area B exceeds that of area A, the elimination strategy might be expected to deliver, about 50% more increase in economic output compared to controlled adaptation (over an 18-month period)

fig6.PNG

Figure 6 measures the economic loss that would be expected if Australia explores the uncontrolled strategy which results in at least three times greater economic loss than the elimination strategy

Source: Group of Eight Roadmap to Recovery report

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