Canberra: Thousands of children in the Australia’s Victoria tested positive for Covid-19 since returning to classrooms, while the state government hasn’t decided yet to extend the school surveillance testing.
There were 2,368 school students and 125 staff in the state tested positive on Monday, taking the infection tally to 7,046 school students and 925 staff since schools reopened last week, Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino said on Tuesday.
Despite the infections, no schools have been forced to return to remote learning, and Merlino argued the current highly recommended twice weekly rapid antigen testing is “really providing confidence and comfort to everyone in school”, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We knew there will be positive cases once we do the surveillance testing, but it means we identify the cases early, and this will overall drive the number down, stopping the transmission,” Merlino said.
Meanwhile, Victoria recorded 20 Covid-19 deaths and 9,785 infections on Tuesday, an increase of more than 1,500 from the previous day’s tally.
Under the state’s back-to-school plan, the surveillance testing is only for the first four weeks of term one.
The state government is yet to make any extension to the plan, saying that the situation will be reviewed in time and they will inform any changes.
However, this school Covid-19 testing program will be expanded to children aged three to five at early childhood services, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Tuesday.
In the next two weeks, 1.6 million rapid antigen tests will be delivered to services, beginning with kindergartens and then early childhood services.