Rapid testing will help us out of pandemic lockdowns
05 August 2021
The Andrews Labor Government is under pressure to adopt widespread rapid COVID antigen tests to help Victoria exit from a cycle of lockdowns.
Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan trialled the rapid tests at State Parliament this week – receiving a negative test in minutes.
“Rapid testing involves a throat and shallow nasal swab, and is best used in the first four days after infection when you might not be showing symptoms yet,” Ms Ryan said.
“It would not replace PCR testing, but as a screening test it would be a game-changer for managing COVID. It is a great tool that we should be using in Victoria to minimise lockdowns and their associated harms.
“It would mean we can support more businesses to open, open our borders, allow our children to remain at school, allow loved ones in hospital or care to have visitors, and keep sport, arts and other activities going so we can look after our physical and mental health.”
Ms Ryan said there were numerous situations where rapid testing could work and ease restrictions.
“One of the most difficult things to deal with is the angst of people with friends or relatives in hospital or aged care who can’t visit them, particularly in times of illness or anguish,” Ms Ryan said.
“Allowing visitors to take a quick test before entering would alleviate that issue.
“It could also be used for major sporting events, for truckies travelling interstate and in many other situations”
The recent G7 Summit of world leaders was able to go ahead because rapid testing was used at the start of each day.
Numerous experts have backed the use of rapid testing as a tool in the armoury to get us out of the pandemic, but the Andrews Labor Government has refused to adopt its use more widely.
“Rapid testing is already being used by Victoria’s court system and the Government is also using it in hotel quarantine and hospital situations,” Ms Ryan said.
“Labor only has one tool to manage COVID – statewide lockdown. But there is another way.
“The Liberal Nationals team will seek to avoid statewide lockdowns through five simple steps – including rapid testing – because lockdowns should be a last resort, not a first response. They cause immense harm and this should never be ignored.”
The Nationals and Liberal 5-point plan involves:
- Limiting lockdowns to LGAs or postcodes. Areas without COVID should not be locked down in the same way hotspots are.
- Fixing contact tracing. This is key to putting a fence around future outbreaks.
- Deploying rapid testing. Waiting 24 hours or more for a result puts more Victorians at risk.
- Releasing the health advice. We all deserve to know the basis for harsh measures that lock us down.
- Better targeted vaccinations.
Caption: Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Member for Euroa Steph Ryan MP waiting to receive her rapid antigen test out the front of Parliament House.