AMA Calls Out Morrison On Covid Testing Strategies As NSW Cases Climb
‘Fix this mess’
New South Wales cases continue to jump with 23,131 new infections reported on Tuesday and sadly, two Covid-related deaths.
The state's hospitalisations have also spiked with 1,344 people admitted with Covid, while 105 of those are in ICU.
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The new cases were detected from 83,376 swabs collected on Monday, with people fronted by long queues and even longer wait-times at testing sites.
In NSW more than 93 per cent of eligible people aged over 16 are now fully vaccinated, while 95 per cent have received their first dose.
Meanwhile, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to reject calls for free rapid antigen tests (RAT) claiming "you can't make everything free", Australian Medical Association vice-president Chris Moy told RN Breakfast the federal government about the shortage months ago.
"I, the AMA and other groups asked the government about the testing strategy several months ago...it was put to us that the government would not intervene when the private market could take over," he said.
"The problem is relying on the private market during a health crisis and there is a market failure... we have...inability to supply RAT's at a critical moment, lack of equity of access... and also there is poor communication about when people should be using them"
The problem at the moment is that the lack of [rapid antigen tests] is completely hampering personal responsibility and it is a frustration that is a glaring hole in the current management of Covid," Dr Moy said.
In a bid to not let sleeping dogs lie, Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers took a swing at the Prime Minister on Tuesday, saying Mr Morrison needed to “fix the mess”.
“It’s getting to a pretty mad stage now. People are either going without or they’re getting ripped off, and the only alternative is to stand in lines for half a day (at testing centres),” Mr Chalmers told Today.
“We can’t have a situation where people at their most vulnerable and most contagious are wondering around shopping centres looking for tests that don’t exist, and if they do they’re getting ripped off, and if they don’t they’re being left undiagnosed which is leaving their co-workers and loved ones more vulnerable."
“The question for Scott Morrison today is how many people have to go undiagnosed, ripped off or faint in testing queues before this bloke will do his job and take responsibility and fix this mess he’s made of rapid antigen tests,” Chalmers challenged.
Meantime, Australia's consumer watchdog is monitoring the cost of rapid antigen tests following reports $15 tests were being hiked to just under $100 and says it will call out suppliers exploiting the RAT kit shortage.
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