While New Zealand currently has no plans to follow a Western Australia initiative to swab hospitality workers for COVID-19, a Ministry of Health spokesperson told Hospitality Business it continues to review its testing strategy.
Under a new two week programme, welcomed by the Australian Hotels Association (AWA) WA, asymptomatic Western Australian hospitality workers at the frontline of community engagement can receive a swab test for COVID-19 until June 10 under the state’s DETECT snapshot scheme.
Participation is voluntary for those on the list of groups highlighted, including healthcare workers, police staff, meat workers, supermarket and retail staff.
“DETECT Snapshot will see a testing blitz across different cohorts to help us get a better understanding of any COVID-19 that may be in the community and has not been detected,” said WA Health Minister Roger Cook.
“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels and the Snapshot will further improve our understanding of COVID-19 and provide the public with additional confidence that the chances of being exposed to the virus remains low.”
Like New Zealand Western Australia continues to be in the enviable position of having no sustained community transmission and this series of testing will provide a better understanding of any COVID-19 that may be in the community claims the WA Government.
“Hospitality workers are at the frontline of community engagement and broader testing for COVID-19 is an important precondition for further relaxing restrictions and will help our industry move closer to a more extended level of operation,” said AHA WA, CEO, Bradley Woods.
“We understand that in order for more restaurants, bars, pubs and taverns to re-open safely, the State Government needs accurate data and a better understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.
“With access to more comprehensive data about whether the virus is still in the community, better decisions can be made about how and when we can return to more normal trading conditions.
In New Zealand there are no plans at the moment to test asymptomatic hospitality workers, though the Ministry of Health continues to ‘review and update our sentinel and surveillance strategy as we move forward in Level 2.’
“An updated strategy will be considered by cabinet next week and we anticipate any updates to be publicly available by mid June,” said a Ministry of Health spokesperson.
Today (May 29) marks another day with no new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand, and the number of active cases has reduced to just one.
The Ministry of Health said that the total confirmed and probable cases remained at 1504, – 1154 of which are confirmed, the remainder are probable.
A new case hasn’t been reported for seven days.An additional seven cases have recovered, taking the total number of recovered cases to 1481.