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Victoria expands voluntary testing to childcare

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Victoria’s voluntary school COVID-19 testing program will be expanded to children aged three to five at early childhood services.

The state recorded 20 COVID-related deaths and another 9785 infections on Tuesday, a jump of more than 1500 from the previous day’s tally.

The fresh cases were made up of 7216 from rapid antigen tests and 2569 from PCR tests, bringing the number of total active cases in the state to 58,449.

While Victorian primary and secondary students are asked to take twice-weekly RATs, the recommendation in early childhood education and care has applied only for staff.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday announced the voluntary testing program will be rolled out to children aged three to five who attend childcare services.

In the next two weeks, 1.6 million rapid antigen tests will be delivered to services, beginning with sessional kindergartens and then early childhood services, including long day care, family day care and occasional care.

“It’s all about giving parents peace of mind, it’s all about trying to support every family,” Mr Andrews said on Tuesday.

As with school settings, the program will be voluntary but highly recommended.

Families will be provided with medical guidance on how to easily administer the nasal tests to young children and get a result within 15 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s hospitalisations have fallen by 63, to 575 patients on Tuesday, down from 638 reported on Monday.

Of these, 72 are in intensive care and 30 are in need of ventilation.

About 46 per cent of Victorians over 18 have received a vaccine booster dose after 15,870 of them were administered at state-run hubs on Monday.

– AAP

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