| July 28, 2021

Rapid testing crucial to get state back on track

Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has implored the Andrews Labor Government to implement rapid COVID testing to ensure Victorians do not continue to be plunged into statewide lockdowns.

Ms Kealy is calling for the point-of-care tests – some of which can provide results in as little as 10 minutes – to be rolled out immediately at high-risk locations to quickly identify anyone with coronavirus.

She said the Therapeutic Goods Association had approved dozens of rapid antigen tests which, if used at locations such as border checkpoints, could stop the virus in its tracks.

“Rapid testing offers huge time and cost savings, but if deployed at border checkpoints it also adds a significant layer of defence against this virus,” she said.

“If the removalists who had travelled from a hotspot in NSW had been tested at the border, authorities would have known they were infectious and could have stopped them entering the state before they inadvertently infected others, leading the Andrews Labor Government to send us into a fifth lockdown.

“With point-of-care testing in place at the border, it’s highly likely this lockdown would have been prevented.”

Ms Kealy said rapid antigen tests were proven to work best during the early stages of infection, when the viral load was at its highest.

She said the tests should be an obvious part of the government’s plan to help get Victorians back to some normality and away from crushing lockdowns.

“Lockdowns should only ever be used as a last resort, but unless the government changes its approach – including rolling out point-of-care testing instead of relying on PCR tests, which can take hours to yield a result – Victorians will continue to suffer,” she said.

“Rapid testing is a valuable tool that is available right now, and it is crucial that the Andrews Labor Government acts to protect the people of Victoria from future lockdowns by rolling out rapid testing at high-risk locations.”

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