Victorians returning to the shops, the pub and cafes tomorrow, are reminded to enjoy their new freedoms in a COVIDSafe way.
After the world’s longest lockdown, it will be a significant mental and economic relief for Victorians to return to some form of normal life, as retail and hospitality venues re-open.
It is a significant achievement as the last time there was a zero case was June 9, and now the state has recorded zero two days in a row.
But whilst the virus has been suppressed, no one can be complacent. The reporting of record daily cases around the world is a clear reminder that every one of us needs to learn how to live with the virus in a safe way.
Wash your hands, keep your distance, stay home if you are not well and get tested. These basic COVIDSafe rules are here to stay.
For those heading out for a beer or visiting a friend, make sure you have downloaded the COVIDSafe app, have it open on your phone and Bluetooth active.
More than 7.14 million people now have the app and we urge Victorians who haven’t done it yet, to also download the app, as encouraged today by Victorian Chief Health officer Brett Sutton and Premier Daniel Andrews.
Acting Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, has confirmed in Senate Estimates today that, “My professional opinion is that the app is a very useful tool when used correctly and integrated into a well-functioning system of contact tracing. The New South Wales experience bears that out. They did find, for example, exactly only through the use of the app a significant outbreak at the Mounties.”
On 1 August, NSW Health accessed the COVIDSafe app data, and a previously unrecognised exposure date from Mounties was identified and an additional 544 contacts. Two people in this group presented for testing and were subsequently confirmed to have COVID-19.
Just one positive case can lead to a major outbreak. The failed hotel quarantine in Victoria, led to widespread community transmission with 18,690 cases and 798 deaths since 1 June.
We welcome the improvements in the Victorian contact tracing system, which has moved to a digital system which incorporates the app, and will be essential to ensuring the ongoing safety of Victorians.
As Health Secretary, Dr Brendan Murphy confirmed in Senate Estimates today, “They now have a really good, mature contact tracing system where the app is now integrated into it.”
Victoria is now on the path under the new National Framework to reopen by Christmas. This will be so important for families and we thank them for their commitment both under lock down and now as they continue to act safely to protect the ongoing health of the community.