Cases Surge Overnight Amid Rapid Antigen Test Supply Crisis

14,020 new infections

Article heading image for Cases Surge Overnight Amid Rapid Antigen Test Supply Crisis

Flickr/Jernej Furman

Victoria sets a new record as Covid cases almost double overnight detecting 14,020 new infections on Monday.

Sadly, two Covid-related deaths were also reported.

Stay up-to-date on the latest news with The National Briefing - keeping you in the loop with news as it hits.

There are currently 48,297 active coronavirus cases, with 516 people in hospital, while 56 of those are in ICU, with 38 on ventilators.

The health department have confirmed that 52 people in ICU are no longer considered active.

The new cases were detected from 60,515 swabs collected on Monday, with people fronted by long queues and even longer wait-times at testing sites.

In Victoria more than 93 per cent of people aged over 12 are now fully vaccinated, while 11 per cent have received a third shot.

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 was put to us that the government would not intervene when the private market could take over"

"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," he said.

"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

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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Triple M Newsroom

3 January 2022

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Triple M Newsroom

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