Minister’s Statement

I rise to update the house that Victoria’s per capita testing rate for COVID-19 remains one of the highest in the world, with a testing rate of 9050 per 100 000 people. Almost 600 000 Victorians have already come forward for testing.

Now, in addition to our normal testing program, we are strategically targeting specific communities to make sure we get the full picture. Targeted testing will run until the end of August and focus on local government areas with lower testing rates, communities with high case numbers, high-risk workforces and vulnerable groups. It will be rolled out in four three-week waves across different local government areas, starting with Mildura, Kyabram, Dandenong and Brimbank and then moving to Melbourne, Moreland, Melton, Colac Otway, Whittlesea, Surf Coast, Hume and Wyndham. But testing will remain available right across Victoria, and we will be promoting awareness of the testing program and locations, including in other languages, as well as establishing new testing sites to add to our 127 locations.

What we found after analysing more than 81 000 tests over the past two weeks is 12 cases of community transmission—that is, cases unrelated to overseas travellers in mandatory quarantine or known outbreaks. That means we are continuing to track well and we are able to proceed with our announced easing of restrictions from 11.59 pm this Sunday, an approach that has been evidence based, that has been cautious and that has been considered.

But I want to take this opportunity to remind members of the public that anyone who has symptoms, no matter how mild, should get a test. And I make the point to members, given this issue just came up before, that a test is not a cure. It is a test result at a point in time, and it is possible for someone to develop COVID-19 at a later point in time. So if you have symptoms, no matter how mild, please go and get tested.