One third of travellers quarantining in Victoria have refused to be tested as the state struggles through a spike in infections.
Deputy chief health officer Annaliese van Diemen acknowledged that some people are automatically allowed into the community after completing the mandatory 14-day quarantine, despite the fact symptoms can develop after this time period.
She revealed that about 30 per cent of returned travellers in Victoria have refused a COVID-19 test and that there was nothing the state could do to make them take one.
Still, Dr van Diemen said she was ‘happy with the current regime’.
People queue up for COVID-19 testing at a pop-up testing site in Chadstone, Melbourne, Thursday, June 25
Victoria State Government Health and Human Services people knock on doors in Broadmeadows to check if people have any symptoms of COVID19 and would like a test, in Melbourne, Thursday, June 25
‘At the moment there is no requirement that they must undertake testing,’ she said.
‘Everybody’s offered testing on multiple occasions throughout their stay and we have, you know, very good uptake of that.’
‘At this point in time we’re pretty happy with the current regimen. It’s more stringent than most other places.’
In the wake of the revelations, Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said the federal government was looking to ensure no one left quarantine contagious.
Professor Murphy said all travellers arriving in Australia will be tested before they are quarantined and again once they are allowed to leave.
‘We’re seeing imported cases in hotel quarantine from a range of different countries now,’ Dr Murphy told reporters.
‘We are going to start testing people on entry to quarantine and testing people before they leave quarantine to see whether a testing regime might help in the future.’
Victoria recorded 30 new cases on Friday with five of those in hotel quarantine, five detected through routine testing and another seven linked to known outbreaks.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said 20,000 test results had been processed in the state in the past day
Premier Daniel Andrews announced he wanted to carry out a ‘testing blitz’ in 10 COVID-19 hotspot suburbs across Melbourne to bring the deadly virus under control
Another 13 cases are still under investigation.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced plans to carry out a ‘testing blitz’ in 10 COVID-19 hotspot suburbs across Melbourne to bring the deadly virus under control.
Officials say 20,000 tests have been done since Thursday, bringing the total tests undertaken in Victoria to date above 736,000.
A health worker at the Orygen Youth Mental Health Facility has the virus, Dr van Diemen said on Friday.
‘That facility is now in lockdown and we are working very closely with Melbourne health who run the facility,’ she said.
‘All of the deep cleaning requirements have been done there and testing will be undertaken as required.’
Victoria recorded another 30 cases on Friday as the state undergoes a test blitz (people on Sydney Rd in Coburg on June 25)
A McDonald’s worker has also been confirmed as having COVID-19 and is linked to an outbreak in Wollert, which stemmed from ‘various household parties and gatherings’.
‘The St Monica’s outbreak has been renamed as the Wollert outbreak because it has been apparent the major driver of this outbreak has been social occasions with some spillover into the school, so the worker at McDonald’s is linked to that outbreak,’ she said.
Meanwhile, dozens of Centrelink contract staff who live in Victoria’s coronavirus hot spots have been stood down amid concerns at the risk of community transmission.
Hank Jongen, the general manager of Centrelink’s parent agency Services Australia, said fewer than 100 staff who live in the affected COVID-19 hot spots work outside those areas.
‘These staff have been advised to stay at home while we review and adapt to the latest health advice and prevent unnecessary movement in and out of those areas,’ Mr Jongen said in a statement on Friday.
A person wearing a face mask in Melbourne on Thursday. There are 183 active cases in Victoria as of Friday
There are 183 active cases in Victoria with six people currently in hospital. More than 1,700 people have recovered from the virus in the state.
Dr van Diemen added health officials were working to contain two cases confirmed at a Coles distribution centre in Laverton in south-west Melbourne.
‘One of those cases is very clearly linked to a large outbreak at Keilor Downs, so we do have a very clear source of acquisition for that,’ she said.
The Keilor Downs family outbreak in north-west Melbourne has now swelled to 19 infections, while a North Melbourne cluster has reached 15 cases.
VICTORIA’S SPIKE IN COVID-19 CASES IN JUNE
Source: Department of Health and Human Services