Andrews Confident in Victoria’s Contact Tracing as Lockdown Lifts

By Alex Joseph
Alex Joseph
Alex Joseph
October 27, 2020Updated: October 28, 2020

Premier Daniel Andrews again defended the state’s contact tracing system after the state government was accused of mismanaging a CCP virus outbreak in a northern Melbourne suburb.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been under scrutiny after 1,400 COVID-19 test results were delayed over the weekend following an outbreak involving 11 households last week.

Speaking at a press conference, Andrews said that despite a very wide spread of the outbreak across the north of Melbourne, the DHHS contact tracing was doing an amazing job after Victoria again recorded zero new cases.

“People working day and night has pulled this up,” Andrews explained.

Andrews also noted that the state’s standards have improved and results now come back within 24 hours.

“There is no delay: we far exceed the national benchmark not by a few minutes but by ten or more hours,” he said, noting that other states may copy Victoria’s approach.

Victoria’s public health department was forced to make significant improvements throughout the second outbreak of the CCP virus with Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel assisting the Victorian government in making improvements in its contact tracing system for the past couple of months.

Victoria has also adopted quick localised response and community education, two key components from the New South Wales method. NSW has been held up by the  Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt calls the “gold standard” to follow.

Ahead of the state’s lockdown lift, Hunt said further delays would show a lack in confidence in the contact tracing system.

“The only way the Premier would not ease restrictions today would be if he didn’t have confidence in his contact tracing,” Hunt said on 3AW Oct. 26.

Chief Contact Tracer: Latest Outbreak Not DHHS Fault

DHHS has denied that the department was at fault during the latest outbreak despite one family releasing an email that stated they had met the quarantine criteria to end isolation.

The department has been accused of allegedly not being clear with its communication to one of the families involved in the state’s recent CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus outbreak.

It is alleged they told a family it was OK to finish isolating when in fact symptoms were still present, leading to a cluster of 39 cases and a testing blitz of over 2,400 residents.

Victorian contact tracing Chief Jeroen Weimar said the claim that DHHS was at fault during the recent outbreak was not correct. Weimar said the department had provided “consistent and very clear information” on quarantine procedures.

Epoch Times Photo
DHHS Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar addresses the media in Melbourne, Australia on Oct. 26, 2020. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

As of Tuesday, Victoria has recorded two days of zero COVID-19 infections and no deaths.

Victorian businesses were given the green light to open from midnight Tuesday. All retail and restaurants will also be allowed to open, and outdoor gatherings can be of up to 10 people.

From Nov. 8, further restriction will lift with greater numbers being allowed to gather outdoors, the regional Victoria and Greater Melbourne border will cease, and the 25-kilometre travel restrictions will be scrapped. Gyms and religious centres will also be allowed to open and increase capacity.