Victoria launches workplace inspection blitz as cases continues to rise

Majority of new COVID-19 cases since mid-May driven by workplace transmissions, says Victorian Premier.

The majority of new COVID-19 cases in Victoria since mid-May are being driven by transmissions in the workplace, according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

Andrews said “about 80 per cent” of new cases are being driven by transmission in workplaces which has led to the launch of a workplace “inspection blitz”.

“Workplaces are a big part of our challenge. That’s where a lot of our problem is,” Andrews said.

The state government has announced WorkSafe, Victoria Police and Department of Health and Human Services officers will target high-risk workplaces including distribution centres, call centres and meat processing facilities.

“We know there a number of high risk workplaces [and] industry sectors and that’s why Worksafe, Victoria Police, with the guidance and advice of the public health team, will be moving through all of those sites, making sure they have the very best protocols in place,” Andrews said.

It comes as Australian and Victorian Governments, in collaboration with representatives from the aged care sector, announce an aged care funding package aimed at reducing the transmission of COVID-19 into aged care services.

The package includes additional funding to help aged care facilities ensure staff do not work across multiple centres or homes, as well as additional infection control training.

From 11:59pm Wednesday 22 July it will be mandatory for all people in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to wear face masks in public.

“If we can change our behaviour, embrace [wearing masks] and just make it part of our normal day, then it will not only be very useful in driving numbers down, but it will be arguably even more useful in making sure those numbers remain low for the medium and long term,” Andrews said.

As of 19 July 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria is 5,696 with 363 new cases since yesterday’s report. The overall total has increased by 343.

Of the total cases, 5,233 cases are from metropolitan Melbourne and 336 are from regional Victoria. More than 1,305,000 test results have been received by the department since 1 January 2020.

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