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Drop in daily COVID-19 testing rates possible sign of Australia 'flattening the curve'

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 6/04/2020 Olivana Smith-Lathouris

A major drop in the number of people being tested daily for COVID-19 is not a result of a lack of testing kits, but of a drop in the number of people presenting with symptoms, Deputy Chief Medical officer Professor Michael Kidd said.

Last month, more than 4000 tests were being conducted daily however that number has fallen to closer to 2700 a day. Professor Kidd told Today this was more likely a result of Australia beginning to flatten the curve.

"What it's reflecting is the smaller number of people who are presenting with symptoms which could be related to COVID-19 and, therefore, the fewer number of people who are being tested and as a consequence the lower rates that we are seeing across the country," he said.

Pictures: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Australia

However, Professor Kidd warned that while there are early signs of Australia flattening the coronavirus curve, strict social distancing and lockdown measures must be maintained.

"What we are seeing is a fall in new positive results, which is a reflection of the extraordinary measures which every Australian is participating in to stop the spread of this virus," he said.

"Tragically we are still seeing a rise in the number of people who are dying from COVID- 19."

Medical professionals are seen performing COVID-19 tests on members of the public at the Bondi Beach drive-through COVID-19 testing centre in Sydney, Monday, April 6, 2020. Additional COVID-19 testing centres have been set up in Sydney's eastern suburbs of Waverley and Bondi, after a cluster of COVID-!9 outbreaks in the area, leading to a rise in community transmissions © AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi Medical professionals are seen performing COVID-19 tests on members of the public at the Bondi Beach drive-through COVID-19 testing centre in Sydney, Monday, April 6, 2020. Additional COVID-19 testing centres have been set up in Sydney's eastern suburbs of Waverley and Bondi, after a cluster of COVID-!9 outbreaks in the area, leading to a rise in community transmissions "That's why the measures which we have in place and which the Australian public are adhering to so magnificently right across the country, absolutely have to stay in place. We all have to continue doing our bit," he said.

Along with ensuring testing kits are reserved for those most at need, Professor Kidd said face masks are also being kept primarily for health care workers and those at significant risk.  

"The important issue is we have facial masks for health care workers, for the people who are at the greatest risk," he said.  

"Although we have got increased masks coming into Australia, we have to make sure we have masks to protect our health care workers working with people with active cases of COVID-19."

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