New national report explores road to COVID-19 recovery

Roadmap to Recovery
Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt receives the report from University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell and Dean of MDHS and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Health) Professor Shitij Kapur, who co-chaired the Go8 taskforce.

The University of Melbourne and the Group of Eight (Go8) have presented the Federal Government with a national COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery report to help guide Australia out of the pandemic crisis.

The report, produced by a special Go8 taskforce co-chaired by University of Melbourne’s Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Health) Professor Shitij Kapur, identifies pathways forward for the nation to recover from COVID-19.

The report provides an ethical framework with two options for the Federal Government to respond to the pandemic - the Elimination Strategy and the Controlled Adaptation Strategy - and rejected a “herd immunity” approach.

The Elimination Strategy means maintaining lockdown measures beyond mid-May to have fewer total infections, hospitalisations and deaths. The Controlled Adaptation Strategy allows restrictions to be lifted as early as mid-May but may mean a slightly higher number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

The report also identifies three requirements for success: early detection and supported isolation, travel and border restriction and public trust, transparency and civic engagement. This is backed up by the six imperatives to support recovery: the health and healthcare system and its workers, preparing for relaxation of social distancing, mental health and wellbeing for all, the care of indigenous Australians, equity of access and outcomes in health support and clarity of community.

Professor Kapur said: “After three intense weeks and working closely with more than 100 academics from across the Go8, I am pleased to represent the taskforce and present this report to the Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt.

“COVID-19 is not just a health issue – it has wide-ranging impacts that affect every Australian. We are sharing this independent report with Federal, State and Territory Governments to help inform the many decisions that need to be made to guide the country out of this crisis.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said the report highlights the international standard of the experts, the convening power of our top universities and the solid foundations that have been built over decades in higher education in Australia.

“This depth of knowledge, detailed work and scenario planning has only been made possible because of the investments made in our universities over many years and we will continue to help to provide the evidence that will guide the nation out of this pandemic crisis,” Professor Maskell said.

“This report is a fantastic example of interdisciplinary collaboration and includes expertise from some of the nation’s most brilliant minds ranging across fields as diverse as mathematics, health and wellbeing, and education.

“The University of Melbourne was very pleased to support the project with 21 of our experts and to provide the Hunt Laboratory for Intelligence Research SWARM’s team and Collaborative Reasoning platform. I want to thank everyone involved in the project for this monumental effort which provides our nation with a roadmap to recovery.”

The Roadmap to Recovery report is available on the Go8 website.