News Coronavirus Victoria cracks down on travellers who refuse COVID-19 testing amid 49 fresh cases

Victoria cracks down on travellers who refuse COVID-19 testing amid 49 fresh cases

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos speak to the media during a press conference at Treasury Theatre in Melbourne, Saturday, June 20, 2020
The R0 is tightly guarded by the governemnt. Photo: AAP
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Another 49 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Victoria, lifting the state’s tally to more than 2,000.

Premier Daniel Andrews said there had been a net increase of 49 cases overnight, but eight of those were reclassified to Victoria from other states.

Four new cases are connected to known outbreaks, 26 are from routine testing and another 19 cases are under investigation.

The figures came as Mr Andrews announced compulsory testing for returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Testing will be mandatory on day 11 of quarantine from today.

Mr Andrews said many parents had refused testing of their children because the nasal swab test was uncomfortable.

He added that from today, there would be the option for people to be tested via a saliva sample rather than the back of the throat, which was “much less painful”, Mr Andrews said.

Testing teams are fanning out in a bid to get on top of Victoria’s spike. Photo: ABC

Those who refuse will have to stay in hotel quarantine for an extra 10 days, in line with rules imposed in NSW.

“So their stay with us will be 24 days instead of 14. I think that the saliva test will mean that that won’t necessarily be something that we have to do,”  Mr Andrews said.

Before today, people have been tested with a swab taken from the back of throat through the nose.

The saliva test is available to anyone who prefers it, with the nasal test remaining an option.

Mr Andrews said other states had begun processing tests for Victoria so the state could address its backlog.

He said a full update into the suburban blitz which has involved about 40,000 tests so far will be provided over the next two days.

No lockdowns … yet

Mr Andrews said the Government was not imposing restrictions on movement in specific suburbs yet but warned it could happen.

“We’re not going to change settings in the hotspot suburbs until we’ve completed and concluded the blitz,” he said.

“Test and trace is the most effective thing we can do.

“If we have to implement a stay-at-home order, if that is deemed the appropriate public health response, that is what we will do. I’m not announcing that today.”

SES volunteers set up a testing station in one of Melbourne’s hotspot suburbs. Photo: ABC

Mr Andrews reminded people the virus was “wildly infectious” and said people in hotspots should get tested if they wanted to avoid “restrictions being reimposed”.

He also said a spike in positive tests from routine testing had been expected.

“When you test in this targeted way you are going to pick [it] up more,” he said.

‘Risk review’ for Coles outbreak

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said of the four new cases linked to existing outbreaks, one was linked to a North Melbourne family, bringing the total for that outbreak to 21.

Another case was linked to the Brimbank family outbreak, taking the total to six, and one was linked to the Stamford Plaza hotel outbreak.

Professor Sutton said the hotel was being used for returned travellers but wanted to assure the public the outbreak had stemmed from “staff members and their close contacts at home”.