‘We won’t let you out’: Warning to travellers

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy has suggested overseas travellers be confined to quarantine until they can produce a negative coronavirus test after it was revealed up to 30 per cent of returned overseas travellers were refusing to be tested.

In Victoria, nearly one in three people quarantined in hotels after returning from overseas are refusing tests, the state's deputy chief health officer said on Friday.

Annaliese Van Diemen said there was no requirement that compelled travellers to take the test, though each person is offered a test multiple times during their stay.

When questioned about the shocking statistic during a press conference on Friday, Mr Murphy said the states and territories had the power to hold a traveller in quarantine until they were able to produce a negative test.

"That 30 per cent is quite a high rate," he said.

"You have powers to say to someone, "Well, we won't let you out of quarantine until you've been tested and had a clear test.

"We will, as you say, make sure people understand before they come that this is a requirement. I think most people will co-operate with that arrangement."

Mr Murphy also announced Australia would begin testing all returned travellers when they first arrived in quarantine and at the end of their hotel stay.

Victoria State Government Health and Human Services officers have begun knocking on doors in areas where COVID-19 cases have begun to spike to check if people have any coronavirus symptoms and would like a test. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett
Victoria State Government Health and Human Services officers have begun knocking on doors in areas where COVID-19 cases have begun to spike to check if people have any coronavirus symptoms and would like a test. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

The revelations come as Victoria reports its 10th day of double-digit new cases, with more expected as 1300 health officials go door to door testing residents in hot spots across the state.

Even there, some locals have refused testing, raising concerns the official diagnosis numbers could be skewed.

"We would like to really emphasise the message that it is important to get tested and important for us to find every case in those areas," Dr van Diemen said.

"We understand why people might have reservations, but we are trying to make it absolutely easy for everybody possible to get tested."

Originally published as 'We won't let you out': Warning to travellers


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