Research expanded to FIFO workers to track possible COVID-19

  • Resources companies including Chevron, Woodside, Mineral Resources Ltd, Rio Tinto and BHP participating in research study to test workers for COVID-19
  • Research forms part of the DETECT program, a WA-based population study focused on testing targeted groups of people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follows the launch of the program in WA schools 
  • The McGowan Government is partnering with major resources companies and Western Australia’s leading researchers to roll out COVID-19 testing among fly-in fly-out (FIFO) mining and resources workers who do not have symptoms.

    The testing among FIFO workers is the second pillar of the DETECT program, a joint initiative of the Department of Health and the WA research community.

    The DETECT program will examine the prevalence of COVID-19 in key sectors of the WA community. It will help to provide greater certainty around possible undetected transmission of the disease in the State.

    Today’s announcement is the start of the DETECT FIFO project led by Curtin University and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. It will engage with mining companies who are supporting the screening of workers for COVID-19.

    It is expected that nearly 30,000 tests will be conducted during the life of the project.

    The DETECT FIFO project will be funded by industry and has been endorsed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy.

    While there is no evidence of community spread of COVID-19, it is hoped the DETECT program will further assist in developing an even stronger evidence base on which to make policy decisions and ease restrictions.

    The DETECT schools program, to test in WA schools, was launched on May 1, 2020.

    As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:

    “With our State COVID-19 numbers continuing to be very encouraging, we are pleased to announce that testing of asymptomatic groups in the community is expanding.

    “Last week we announced our DETECT research program would commence with the testing of students and staff at 80 public schools, and now this study is being expanded to FIFO workers from some of our major mining companies.

    “The research being undertaken through Curtin University has been carefully considered by the Chief Health Officer and it is hoped that the findings will benefit others in the mining and broader community.

    “I’d like to thank all participants and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy for taking part in this important project.”

    As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:

    “While our number of COVID-19 cases is very low in Western Australia, we must not become complacent and should continue to adopt social distancing and good hand hygiene.

    “We are very pleased that industry is supporting and collaborating with this component of DETECT and that the Chamber of Minerals and Energy is in full support.

    “Our low numbers allow us to turn our attention to testing to identify undetected cases in our community. The DETECT program will give us further confidence that we are on top of this virus and that there is no sustained community spread.

    “The McGowan Government is fully committed to finding out all we can about this virus and to continue to do all we can to protect all Western Australians.”

    Resource companies participating in DETECT FIFO
    AngloGold Ashanti Australia
    BHP
    Citic Pacific Mining
    Chevron
    Minara Resources
    Mineral Resources Limited
    Perenti Group
    Regis Resources
    Roy Hill
    Rio Tinto
    Woodside

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