Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned officials could be forced to close a number of industries and extend the state’s six-week lockdown unless the number of workplace COVID-19 cases drastically decreases.
Victoria recorded 532 new cases on Monday, as a second wave of COVID-19 infections across Melbourne continues to worsen, with Andrews saying too many people are showing up to work sick.
“We have too many people who have symptoms and they’re going to work,” Andrews told reporters on Monday.
“The lockdown will not end until people stop going to work with symptoms, and instead, go and get tested.”
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Since mid-May, upwards of 80% of COVID-19 cases have emerged from transmission in workplaces, including aged care homes, according to state government figures.
WorkSafe staff have undertaken 200 inspections of workplaces over the last week across Melbourne amid a crackdown on workplaces failing to follow public health rules.
Andrews pleaded with business owners, arguing they share the risk if their business is forced to shut down because a COVID-19 case emerges at their workplace.
“It doesn’t matter what industry, what sector you work in, if you are going to work with symptoms, if you’re going to work when you’re sick, then you will inevitably spread this virus,” Andrews said.
Last week, payments were introduced for Victorians in insecure work who are waiting for COVID-19 test results in a bid to reduce the rates of people with symptoms failing to self-isolate.