- New laws to compel an offender to undergo testing for Coronavirus
- Mandatory testing to ease concerns of officers and reduce the need for quarantine
The McGowan Government is expanding mandatory testing for someone who exposes a police officer to the risk of Coronavirus.
Current laws allow for the mandatory testing for blood borne viruses of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Presently there is no legal authority for mandatory testing of COVID-19.
Amendments to be introduced to Parliament this week will introduce a new process to allow mucous, saliva and respiratory secretions be taken from an offender to test for coronavirus.
It will also enable COVID-19 to be added to the list of diseases that can be compulsorily tested for.
The reforms mean an offender could be compelled to be tested if transfer of bodily fluids has occurred because of an assault on an officer or during the apprehension or detention of a person.
The new laws complement tough penalties introduced by the McGowan Government which carry up to 10 years' imprisonment for assaulting a frontline worker in circumstances where a person knows they have COVID-19 or creates a belief, suspicion or fear they have COVID-19.
Last year there were 130 instances where officers were exposed to bodily fluids during the course of policing including 64 incidents where officers were spat at.
Comments attributed to Police Minister Michelle Roberts:
"Over the last few months, our police have done an outstanding job enforcing difficult and sometimes unpopular measures.
"They have helped keep us all safe and it is our duty and responsibility to ensure they are kept as safe as possible too.
"Many people cannot imagine the trauma of thinking you might be exposed to this virus and the terrible uncertainty until a test result comes in.
"This measure will provide some reassurance and enable the Commissioner to return officers to the frontline quickly, without the need for lengthy quarantine."
Minister's office - 6552 6900