Anyone showing coronavirus symptoms in Victoria can now get tested. The expanded testing criteria (now the widest in Australia) was announced by Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos in a press conference on Tuesday morning.
Previously testing had focused on returning travellers and their close contacts, as this was where the majority of cases were being found. With the number of people travelling from overseas slowly, Mikakos said: “We are now making a very concerted effort to concentrate on looking at community transmissions.”
Victorians exhibiting a fever or acute respiratory symptoms can now be tested at a dedicated clinic or at a GP that offers the service (call ahead to check). The broadened testing criteria will also help the government gauge when and how to lift current distancing restrictions. “We need to be confident that we’ve got community transmission under control before we would consider lifting those restrictions,” Mikakos said.
The announcement follows Victorian premier Daniel Andrew extending Victoria’s state of emergency until at least May 11 (it was previously due to expire on April 13). This means you must stay at home unless you are shopping for food or essential supplies; exercising; seeking medical care or caregiving; or attending work or education if you cannot do so from home.
There are currently 1,291 cases of coronavirus in Victoria, 40 people in hospital and 15 in intensive care. The number of recovered cases sits at 1,118.