The state’s chief medical officer, Dr Kerry Chant, has appealed to NSW residents to be aware of certain symptoms beyond respiratory issues, saying that the criteria for testing was now at the “lowest threshold possible”.
Slight fatigue, changes to taste or smell, and any unexplained joint pain, however minor, should now be considered justification for testing, Chant said. The state is currently screening between 7,000 and 8,000 people a day, but health authorities are aiming to increase this number to more than 10,000 a day in the coming weeks as preparations continue for the gradual lifting of social restrictions across the country later this month.
In addition to a broader testing regime, premier Gladys Berejiklian said the CovidSafe contact tracing app was a vital component of the state’s preparedness for relaxed restrictions. More than 5 million people across the country have already downloaded the app, but this number still falls short of the 40 per cent of Australia’s adult population – approximately 10 million people – that experts say is needed for the app to be effective.
Details of how the social restrictions that have been in place for almost 8 weeks in Australia will be rolled back are due at the end of this week, following the national cabinet’s meeting on Friday, May 8.