Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
Health industry groups are questioning the decision not to provide rapid antigen tests free or at least heavily subsidised to Australians. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced after the national cabinet on Thursday, changes to COVID-19 isolation periods, the definition of close contact and a greater reliance on rapid antigen tests instead of PCR tests.
Australians in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT now only need to isolate for seven days if they are a close contact, defined as a household or intimate contact who’s spent more than four hours with a positive case. They will only need a rapid antigen test and will be able to leave isolation after seven days if they return a negative RAT on day six.
Positive cases regardless of vaccination status will be able to leave isolation after seven days from their positive test but will also need to return a negative RAT on day six. SA Premier Steven Marshall flagged the state would not be following the new definition of close contact. Federal Labor’s health spokesperson Mark Butler told reporters on Friday the decisions from the national cabinet were already falling apart.
Scott Morrison has decided to let it rip without giving Australians the tools that they need to keep themselves safe and healthy, particularly booster shots and rapid tests. The message to the Australian people yesterday from Scott Morrison essentially was, ‘you’re on your own.’