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Mandatory COVID-19 Testing in Australia: “Reasonable Force Will Be Used to Ensure Your Compliance”

A man travelling to Western Australia has captured the moment police and an emergency health officer issued him a "medical examination direction" for mandatory COVID-19 testing.
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A man travelling to Western Australia has captured the moment police and an emergency health officer issued him with a “medical examination direction” for mandatory COVID-19 testing.

Video of the incident, which has been shared across social media, shows a female doctor and two police officers issuing the man the direction, along with a warning that if he refused to comply within 24-hours, reasonable force would be used to ensure compliance along with a fine of up to $20,000.

The “emergency officer” explained that she was operating under the authorisation of the Chief Health Officer under Section 174(2)(b) of the Public Health Act 2016, to exercise any emergency powers with respect to COVID-19 while under a state of emergency.

The legislation states:

174. Authorisation to exercise emergency powers during public health state of emergency… (2) For the purposes of emergency management during a public health state of emergency, the Chief Health Officer may authorise all or any of the following to exercise any of the emergency powers while the public health state of emergency is in force… (b) a health professional or health professional within a specified class of health professionals.

“This is the direction, it is a medical examination,” the doctor explained to the man. “You must undergo a test for COVID-19 comprising the taking of samples in accordance with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 CDNA National Guidelines for public health units… as soon as possible and in any event within 24-hours of the making of this direction…

The officer went on to say: “You have been given this direction for emergency management purposes to determine whether you have COVID-19 in the interest of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s a penalty for a person to fail without reasonable excuse to comply with this direction. It’s punishable by a fine of up to $20,000 and if you do not comply, reasonable force will be used to ensure your compliance.”

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