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Rapid Antigen Tests To Become Free In Victoria And NSW

Hannah Blackiston

Published 

Rapid Antigen Tests To Become Free In Victoria And NSW

Victoria and New South Wales have announced plans to obtain and distribute 'millions' of rapid antigen tests for free.

The announcement comes as Victoria recorded 3767 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and NSW recorded 11,201.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said booster shots are going to be the key to flattening the curve.

Jay Kogler / Alamy Stock Photo
Jay Kogler / Alamy Stock Photo

But he maintains that the rise in cases in the state is in line with projections from the Doherty Institute.

It's expected cases will continue to rise, with Foley saying both the Omicron and Delta strains are 'circulating widely' in the community.

Foley confirmed the Victorian Government has already purchased 34 million rapid antigen tests (RAT) which will be delivered for free from next week.

The government is aiming for the RAT to help Victorians feel safe in how they live their life while case numbers climb.

HERA FOOD / Alamy Stock Photo
HERA FOOD / Alamy Stock Photo

"Victorians have been here before, I'm confident we can do it again," he said.

"Rapid antigen tests should be free, and we will be making them free," he said.

"Rapid antigen tests should be widely available, and we will be making them widely available.

"That will be part of a process that has fallen to the states. We would much prefer a national approach ... failing that, as per usual the states have had to step up."

There has been a turnaround in support for the RAT after massive delays and failings in the PCR testing system has drawn criticism for the process.

Robert Wallace / Wallace Media Network / Alamy Stock Photo
Robert Wallace / Wallace Media Network / Alamy Stock Photo

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called an emergency national cabinet meeting today to discuss the role of RAT going forward and the potential for their use in isolation changes and travel requirements.

Foley called the tests 'very valuable', despite them not being as effective as PCR tests.

"They're not the gold standard, but they're increasingly effective."

NSW has not released a timeline for its own RAT distribution, but also has plans to make them available for free.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the free tests and reintroduction of masks and distancing in venues would help take the pressure off the health system and keep the community safe until more people could get booster shots.

"We said we would tailor our settings as the situation evolved and these steps will help take the pressure of our health system, so the people who need care can access it," Perrottet said.

"Our frontline health workers have done an enormous job keeping us safe over the past two years and we can't thank them enough.

"Vaccination remains the key to keeping people safe and out of hospital. It is vital people continue to roll up their sleeves to get vaccinated and receive their boosters."

Featured Image Credit: HERA FOOD / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Covid-19

Hannah Blackiston
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