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Chief Medical Officer Rules Out “Big” Music Festivals Until Coronavirus Vaccine

Aussies won’t be able to attend a music festival or a nightclub until there is a coronavirus vaccine, according to Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Brendan Murphy.

It’s bad news for festivals like Splendour In The Grass, with organisers postponing the annual festival until October 2020 in the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would be under control by then.

Speaking about Australia’s state of play in a briefing to New Zealand politicians in Canberra, Murphy made the revelation that festivals and nightclubs would likely be some of the last social activities to return, even as states begin to gradually ease restrictions.

Ultimately, it will remain impossible to know 100% the virus has been eradicated completely until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, he said.

“Unless you’re absolutely, completely confident about your borders, your testing, your surveillance, you can’t relax a measure of distancing,” explained Murphy.

“We certainly would not be contemplating large-scale gatherings. It’s hard for me to envisage reopening of nightclubs and big music festivals in the foreseeable future.”

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It falls in line with health experts in the US who recently told the New York Times that gigs may not return in America until late 2021, such has been the impact of the crisis on the US.

The news comes despite how well Australia is doing amid the pandemic, with Murphy telling the media on Tuesday that only one Australian person contracted COVID-19 through community transmission.

In Western Australia groups of 10 are now able to gather together, and in NSW you’ll be able to have two mates over at any one time.

But even if Australia and New Zealand continue along the path towards eliminating all community transmission of the virus, it’ll likely be quite some time before overseas travel is allowed and international acts can fly here.

Once gigs do return, they’ll probably be a lot more sanitary, with measures like good hand hygiene likely to remain a part of our changes lives forever, says Murphy.

“There are some things we’ll do differently, always. We’ll all be doing better hand hygiene from now on.”

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