Plan to get 34 million quick tests for Victorians

Sir. Foley said the numbers were in line with predictions from the Doherty Institute, and Victoria registered 36 more hospital admissions but had 18 fewer people in the intensive care unit than the day before.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrew on Wednesday morning to discuss the purchase of rapid antigen tests. Various state government officials said the Victorian government was forced to step in and procure the tests after the federal government decided not to buy them in bulk, reflecting the previous debate on vaccine supply.

“It’s the job of the states, and I’m glad they do,” Mr Morrison said.

A spokesman for the federal government confirmed on Wednesday that “another 50 million RATs [rapid antigen tests] will soon be purchased for the national medical stock “on top of those already purchased for use in geriatric care centers.


Earlier, Mr Foley said the task of providing tests had fallen on the states.

“We would very much prefer to have a national approach to what is a national – yes, an international – supply issue,” he said. “But if it does not succeed, the states have, as usual, had to step in during this pandemic and fill the gap that has been left behind.”

The Victorian government plans to move to a system where close contacts of cases can clear themselves using a quick test instead of queuing for a PCR at test sites, which were overwhelmed again on Wednesday, and where Mr Foley said about 40 percent of the population were seeking pre-travel tests.

The move to take pressure off the PCR system and minimize disruption to people and businesses is parallel to a push from the country’s health chiefs to only consider someone a close contact if they were exposed to a COVID-positive person for four hours.

The health chiefs will present advice to the National Cabinet on whether to reduce the 10-day isolation period for infected people in line with government recommendations in the US and UK.

Victorian COVID-19 Response Commander Jeroen Weimar.

Victorian COVID-19 Response Commander Jeroen Weimar.Credit:Joe Armao

COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar, who urged people to use rapid testing in lower-risk situations instead of PCRs, said the government would soon publish announcements about the expanded use of antigen tests to “get the balance between public health protection and who will be able to return to work and other activities in a safe and efficient manner ”.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said the growing proportion of tests that gave a positive result indicated that the virus was more prevalent than the number of cases suggested. The percentage of tests that return positive in that state has risen from about 1.1 percent on Dec. 17 to 5.1 percent. In Victoria, it has grown from 1.8 percent on Dec. 17 to 2.6 percent, according to data from

Dr. Chant suggested that about one million people in the state could be infected. “In the first wave, we may get 10 to 15 percent of society to acquire it … COVID will then be with us for years to come, and we will have to get used to that,” she said.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant last week.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant last week.Credit:Rhett Wyman

“And hopefully it does not throw up more variants that are more transferable and more serious – you know, the wrong combination – but we are aware that even though we may not have much seriousness, it’s just the big numbers that will be a challenge for us. ”

Sir. Andrews, who will put his annual leave on pause to attend the National Cabinet on Thursday, tweeted a picture of himself on Wednesday afternoon when he received his booster jab, writing “it’s good to put a decision or two, you actually want to tick “.

Sir. Foley reiterated that with both the Omicron and Delta variants circulating in the community, the authorities strongly recommended that hospitality venues choose seated service – especially at New Year’s celebrations – and that the dance floors remain outside.

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