NSW Labor has called for an immediate escalation of COVID-19 testing across the state, after new research suggested a staggering 86% of cases went undetected in China. There were 40 new cases of COVID-19 detected in NSW since yesterday. This brings the state’s tally to 307, as the national death toll climbed to six. NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay has questioned why the Liberal-National Government continues to ignore testing advice from the WorldHealth Organisation (WHO), which criticised some nations for not running enough coronavirus tests. On March 16, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom said: “We have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing, which is the backbone of the response. “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. “Test every suspected case.” But despite this clear warning, the Berejiklian Government has continued to only test people with acute, cold, flu-like symptoms who are either returned travellers, or have come into contact with a confirmed case. Now a new study, reported in the journal Science, has revealed undetected cases were responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in China, fuelling fears NSW could face the same fate. Ms McKay said: “Why are we not learning the lessons from China and Europe? With NSW being the epicentre of coronavirus in Australia, we should be heeding all advice from WHO and doing everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19. “How have we reached a point where the Health Minister Brad Hazzard and the top official at the World Health organisation are giving people completely different advice? "I’m calling on the Berejiklian Government with everything I have to test every single person showing COVID-19 symptoms so we know its true extent in our community. “The message is simple and it could save lives: test, test, test. This must be our motto." Shadow Health Minister Ryan Park said it was not acceptable to blame a lack of supplies for not increasing testing. “The Premier claims we have the highest rates of testing anywhere. That is simply not true. “We have seen a huge surge in community transmissions. We now have dozens of cases with unknown sources or that are still under investigation. The solution is ramp up testing, more and more every day. “Countries that are slowing the pandemic are conducting mass testing. This virus could be spreading faster than we know in NSW and it could easily get out of control.”
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