Rapid antigen tests should have arrived sooner in Canberra: Chief Minister Andrew Barr | The Canberra Times

coronavirus, andrew barr, RATs, rapid antigen tests

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has conceded that supplies of rapid antigen tests are arriving in Canberra later than they should have, but said stocks will increase in the next fortnight. “It’s later than it should have been. That’s acknowledged. There’s various issues there, some that are, I guess, within the remit of the Commonwealth and others that also just simply reflect global demand at the moment,” Mr Barr said. Mr Barr said the ACT has secured 1.6 million rapid COVID-19 tests – equivalent to about four for every Canberran – but the government would need to order more. “I think next week will be better than this week in terms of supply; the week after will be even better and then the first week of February you will really see a significant supply pipeline. That will be both government and across pharmacies and supermarkets,” he said. Testing clinics in the ACT experienced significant demand on Friday, with the Mitchell drive-through site and the Garran walk-in centre both at capacity before 9am. Cars were turned away before the opening time at the Kambah clinic, where rapid antigen tests were distributed in the ACT to people eligible for free COVID testing for the first time. There were 1125 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the ACT on Friday, including 885 PCR confirmed cases and 240 from rapid antigen tests. It was the first time rapid test results were included in daily case numbers. There were 27 people in hospital with three people being ventilated. The percentage of Canberrans aged 18 and over who have received booster shots has reached 28.1 per cent. Mr Barr was reserved in his criticism of the federal government, which has been widely accused of failing to order sufficient rapid antigen tests and pushing the responsibility onto the states and territories. “If they were in abundance in the private sector and governments had done nothing, then it would be a very fair cop to say, ‘What’s going on? There’s no tests.’ But part of the issue at the moment is that no one can get them,” Mr Barr said. The Chief Minister said he wanted to reduce demand on the territory’s PCR testing system, which would still be required for vulnerable people to confirm their COVID diagnosis. Mr Barr said the system would in future need to produce results within 24 hours. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT is free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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