The government says the public lack of rapid COVID-19 antigen testing is due to the rise of the Omicron variation, as it is blamed for not being prepared for an expansion of cases. The finance minister said interest in the tests had far exceeded posting. The Resistance says the government had a very long lead time to prepare for the demand tests and failed. The government has been blamed for neglecting to anticipate an anticipated popular expansion for rapid testing as the country returned and the testing regime moved to home testing units. When he found out whether the government had neglected to plan enough, Chancellor of the Exchequer Simon Birmingham said the Omicron variation had caused a much larger increase in cases than had been shown.
“He… put pressure on test systems beyond Delta-type expectations.
“Obviously, Omicron has once again changed the COVID landscape in incredibly significant ways,” Birmingham said.
“We are responding to this by providing faster antigen testing, refining definitions around testing needs and making sure they target those who need it most, and ensuring that supports are put in place. in place for those who need financial assistance to access rapid antigenic testing.
People were unable to get a COVID test in a timely manner, and others have given up on trying to get a PCR test after being repeatedly turned away from crowded test sites.
The country’s testing system has had to deal with an explosion in COVID cases, even as governments abandoned testing requirements for travelers and less severe exposures to the virus.
As people have turned to rapid tests, retailers have been drained of their inventories of kits, while a handful have sold the tests at mass premium prices.
In countries where the tests are cheap and readily available, there have been anecdotes of Australians who have been asked by family members home to bring a handful of tests with them when they return.
The opposition, unions and community groups have called on the government to make rapid tests free or more affordable and accessible as they replace the PCR regime. Testing is free in several countries, such as the UK, where kits can be ordered online for delivery by post.
But Mr Morrison has repeatedly refused to make the free tests widely available to the public. Instead, the government plans to cut testing for concession card holders, which will be discussed at a national cabinet meeting tomorrow.
Opposition says government had months to schedule testing
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has accused the government of failing to prepare for the increase in COVID cases resulting from the lifting of borders and the end of lockdowns. “You cannot access a PCR test because the test sites close and the queues last six or eight hours,” Mr. Albanese said.
“You are told to do a rapid antigen test but you can’t find one, if you find one it’s not affordable and they won’t do anything against the price hikes. “This is the record of this government.
Mr Albanese said the government has known it should plan for rapid testing since September, when the Therapeutic Goods Administration recommended that rapid antigen testing be part of the testing regime from November. He also criticized Mr. Morrison’s refusal to make testing free to the public.
Summary of the news:
- Shortage of rapid antigen testing due to unexpected variant of Omicron, says finance minister
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