Premier Daniel Andrews has today announced the biggest testing blitz Victoria has ever seen. The government will undertake more than 100,000 tests within the next two weeks in order to make a decision about easing stay-at-home restrictions.
The news comes following chief health officer Brett Sutton revealed yesterday that Victoria won’t be easing any Victorian restrictions until at least May 11.
“The message today is very simple: Keep following the rules [and] get tested,” Andrews said. Getting tested “will give us data and options to ease some of the restrictions potentially as we come to the end of the second, four-week State of Emergency for the 11th of May.”
Health care workers, aged care workers and people with symptoms (“even the mildest of symptoms,” said Andrews) should come forward and get tested. Sutton urged Victorians who have mild symptoms like a “scratchy throat, a runny nose” and even a loss of smell, which can be an unusual or uncommon symptom, to also get tested.
Sutton added: “If we can get to 100,000 tests within the next two weeks that means there will be no surprises and we will have a very good picture of the transmissions that are happening throughout the state – where it’s occurring and what populations it’s occurring in.”
Andrews said actions like staying home and getting tested were a “powerful contribution to our fight” so that the government can make “sound, evidence-based decisions for the future”.
But this won’t mean restrictions will be eased all at once. “I do want to foreshadow [that] not all restrictions will be coming off, no matter the results of these tests,” Andrews said. “The risks will be far too high”. Basically, the more data and information that these tests can reveal means the government will have more options for easing restrictions.
Do your part! Keep following the rules and get tested.
There are currently 43 specialist sites across Victoria where you can get a test – here is where to find one closest to you.