Labor is urging the Berejiklian Government to begin mass testing for COVID-19 in NSW, as the State’s testing criteria continues failing to account for asymptomatic cases and community transmissions.
Despite NSW recording the largest number of unknown and untraceable ‘community transmission’ cases (350), testing for COVID-19 is still limited by location to people with one or more of the key symptoms and risk factors such as contact with cases or medical history.
Labor Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park said: “Current testing criteria fails to address asymptomatic cases and doesn’t recognise the untraceable nature of community transmissions.
“We need mass testing. That means if someone asks for a test, they get a test. Regardless of your postcode, who you know, or your medical history. We need to track down and root out this virus wherever it might be hiding. The Berejiklian Government’s timid approach to testing isn’t going far enough."
A recent study has suggested the rapid growth of COVID-19 community transmissions could be attributed to people with few or with no symptoms unknowingly spreading the virus.
“We could have people in NSW showing no symptoms, and who may never show symptoms spreading this virus. Until the Berejiklian Government drastically expands testing to find those infections, NSW can’t get ahead of itself with hypotheticals about winding back social distancing measures in the community. We’re still in a pandemic situation,” Mr Park said.
Other States around the country have moved to expand testing criteria, while the ACT has begun randomly testing people outside of the testing criteria.
Labor has pushed from the start of the COVID-19 outbreak for greater testing - in line with the World Health Organization advice to “test, test, test”.
For more information on NSW testing criteria and case numbers by location, visit https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/covid-19-lga.aspx