28/10/2020 - 18:00

Testing claims a waste of time

28/10/2020 - 18:00


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Health Minister Roger Cook has labelled accusations WA is still not testing wastewater for COVID-19 as plainly wrong and mischievous.

Testing claims a waste of time
Roger Cook says claims WA is not testing wastewater for COVID-19 are a waste of time. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Health Minister Roger Cook has labelled accusations WA is still not testing wastewater for COVID-19 as plainly wrong and mischievous.

That comes after reports emerged that the state government had not yet begun testing sewage for traces of the virus.

The state government had said on September 18 that it would begin testing wastewater for COVID-19 within the month.

Mr Cook said this afternoon the program was on-track as scheduled and that testing would start this week.

“Any suggestion that there has been a delay is plainly wrong and mischievous,” Mr Cook said.

“It is a waste of everyone’s time to make such claims.

“As I explained when announcing the initiative last month, wastewater testing is another layer of reassurance.

“We have been well prepared for potential COVID outbreaks for many months now.

“It is why WA has been the safest place in Australia with no community transmission for more than six months.

“It is also why our expertise has been used extensively interstate, particularly in Victoria during the height of their crisis there, from top-level strategy to contact tracing and caring for COVID-19 positive residents in nursing homes.”

Wastewater testing can indicate whether COVID-19 is spreading undetected in the community, with Queensland detecting traces of the virus in sewage from Carole Park and Ipswich.

Most other states already use wastewater testing as part of a broader strategy for managing COVID-19 outbreaks.

Criticisms of the state government’s wastewater testing regime come as community transmission of the virus has been significantly reduced across Australia, with all states except WA now committed to reopening their border before Christmas.

WA recorded one new case of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 50.

All of those cases were reported in overseas travellers or international maritime workers in quarantine.


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