Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed nine out 10 people with coronavirus didn’t isolate between when they first felt sick and when they got tested.
Out of the 3,810 cases recorded in the state between July 7 and July 21, 3,400 people felt ill but continued to go to work and shopping before undergoing testing, he said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“They have been at the height of their infectivity and they have just continued on as usual,” he said.
“We just can't have that any longer. That will continue to see more workplaces with positive cases. More businesses shut down. Ultimately, there's no reason to be going to work when you're sick. It's simply unacceptable.”
Mr Andrews also said 53 per cent – or 2,056 of those 3,810 cases – did not isolate between when they had their test taken and when they got the results of that test.
It was also revealed 30 per cent of people being contacted are not answering their phone to contact tracers.
Mr Andrews said the actions would drive transmission heavily.
“When you have to contact-trace thousands of people, not every one of which answers the phone, not everyone is necessarily as fulsome in the information they provide,” he said.
“That is a fraction of the challenge that is posed and the transmission that is directly relatable, directly connected, to people feeling sick but not doing anything about it and, instead, actually going to work or the supermarket.”
Victoria announces record number of new cases
Victoria recorded 484 new COVID cases on Wednesday – its highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.
Mr Andrews also confirmed the death of two men in their 90s, bringing the state's death toll from the virus to 44 and the national toll to 128.
The alarming total for the state surpasses Australia’s worst day for cases on its own, higher than the nation’s 460 cases recorded on March 28.
Victoria’s previous record total was on Friday, when the state confirmed a further 428 cases.
Coronavirus: Residents in insecure work
Mr Andrews said a large proportion of people leaving their home while sick were in insecure work and had been forced to choose between self-isolating or getting paid.
"They'll look at their bank balance, they'll look at the fact that if they don't work the shift, they won't get paid for the shift, they don't have sick leave," he said.
"This is a commentary on insecure work. This is a commentary on this as a feature of the Victorian economy and our national economy."
He encouraged Victorians who tested positive to the virus, or had come into contact with someone who had, to call 1800-675-398 and apply for a $1500 hardship payment if they did not have sick leave. About 1200 people have applied already.
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