Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is weighing up an option whether to impose mandatory COVID-19 testing for Victorians wanting to travel, as he looks ahead to ease restrictions and reopen interstate borders.
State leaders have discussed lifting border restrictions for over a month at National Cabinet meetings, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month advocating all borders to open by the end of the year.
Andrews agrees, and said by December, Victoria may have a different set of rules with people allowed to move more freely. The Victorian premier has previously stated that the goal is for Vicotria to reach “COVID-normal” by the end of the year.
Currently, under Stage Four restrictions, Melburnians are unable to move more than five kilometres from their homes unless for travelling for work or caregiving or receiving.
Looking ahead, Andrews said that he may impose a rule where you have to get tested for COVID-19 before boarding a flight.
“You might be able to travel interstate but you might have to take a COVID test first and you might have to wait the 24 hours,” Andrews said at a press conference on Oct. 7, he said.
“Or we might have one of these rapid testing technologies fully proved up with enough stockpiles to be able to do a test and 30 minutes later you are free to fly.
“That won’t necessarily stop every single infection but it gives you a higher degree of certainty that a person is in fact safe to travel.”
The Premier’s proposal comes after the Victorian government started initiatives of targetted COVID-19 testing. Surveillance testing in high-risk industries starting in with food businesses began trials last week. The program aims to test 25 percent of a company’s workforce each week.
On Oct. 8 the surveillance testing program was extended to regional Victoria where restrictions are lower compared to Metropolitan Melbourne.
In Western Australia and Tasmania where CCP virus cases have been significantly lower, they have adopted a paperless system for border crossings. Citizens are required to download the G2G Pass app, which contains their travel exemption. When approached by authorities they present their QR code.
China’s Travel Health Check System
The system is similar to that used in the Hubei province in China, the origin of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which was was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to implement a health check for those wanting to travel after restrictions had eased.
A three colour grade system assesses whether citizens are free to travel or must continue quarantine. Only green graded citizens are allowed to travel out of the region.
Although the system is not mandatory, citizens must present their app results if they wish to board trains.
At present Victoria’s cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus are falling, with 11 new infections and zero deaths recorded on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. Melbourne’s rolling 14-day average—the barometer on whether it can open, currently stands at 9.4, the target for easing restrictions is no more than five.