As the pandemic grew throughout March, the government implemented harsher social distancing measures including limits on public gatherings, bars, restaurants and restrictions on non-essential activities.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the modelling “was the full complement” of what was available to the national cabinet, but it could not predict the outcome of social distancing measures already taken.
“It does not model the Australian response,” he said.
There are currently 93 coronavirus patients in intensive care in Australian hospitals, with 36 on life-saving ventilators. There have been 46 fatalities. 5896 Australians have been infected.
Mr Morrison said the modelling figures were based on a combination of Chinese and international data since the beginning of the pandemic’s spread in December. “It proves the theory of flattening the curve,” he said.
He said the local community transmission was still too low to give a full and accurate model of the virus’ future spread in Australia.
“We have bought valuable time but we cannot be complacent,” he said. “We must keep the tension in the cord.”
Dr Murphy said the Australian “curve was bending” which “is a very positive sign”.
“We are on a life raft while the US and Italy are in the water,” he said.
Mr Morrison said the Easter holidays presented a risk for Australia’s virus trajectory.
“Stay home,” he said. “Failure to do so this weekend would undo all that we have achieved together.”
The modelling is expected to be released in full by the Doherty Institute on Tuesday afternoon.
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Eryk Bagshaw is an economics correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra