Australia: Virus concerns over police breath testing
By Christine McGinn
March 13, 2020
Pressure is on Victoria Police to stop drug and alcohol breath testing amid fears of spreading coronavirus to members.
The Police Association Victoria raised concerns to the force about its members breath-testing drivers, claiming it’s a “high-risk” activity with the potential to spread COVID-19.
“We have asked Victoria Police to safeguard our members’ health around a range of high-risk activities. Breath testing is one of them,” a statement on Friday read.
Victoria Police confirmed it was looking at preliminary breath tests and had infection control measures at all drug and alcohol testing sites to stop the spread of the virus.
This includes officers using gloves to do the drug and alcohol tests.
“Our initial advice was that our current process is adequate and police officers were not required to change gloves every time a PBT or drug test is conducted,” a statement read.
“However, as this is an ever-evolving situation we are seeking further advice from the Department of Health’s chief medical officer to determine whether any additional precautionary measures are required.
“Until updated advice is received, Victoria Police will continue to conduct PBTs in line with its current processes.”
Victoria Police has already established a number of committees to work through any potential issues.