Mandatory Covid PCR Tests Hit Border Residents’ Hip Pocket
A tenuous swab
Border communities are calling for clarity from the Queensland government with residents entering Queensland from New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT required to pay for their own PCR Covid test despite its own road map stating a “TGA-approved test” would be enough.
The new rule will come into play on December 17, once home quarantine regulations are scrapped for domestic travellers.
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Tweeds Mayor Chris Cherry is concerned border residents will be unfairly hit with the financial burden, even if they are just heading to work or school across the state line.
"They say 'we are opening up the border', but they are actually making it harder for border communities to function," she said. "So, it actually at this point as it stands, it’s a big step back for us".
"Our communities, people who are crossing every day for work, every day to drop their children at schools, every day for medical appointments, have to have a current PCR test that costs them $150 every three days".
- Cr Cherry
Copping criticism for the compulsory PCR test, which costs from $145 per person at a private pathology clinic, when borders reopen, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath refuses to budge, saying the health response over-rules affordability.
But many remain up in arms, with 12 TGA approved rapid antigen test kits, available at chemists and supermarkets only costing anywhere from $7 to $20.
Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said rapid antigen tests work best, however, when there is high community transmission, as the do-it-yourself kits are less assuring.
“Queensland currently has four active cases – we want to identify every case and not miss 30 per cent, so we will continue to use PCR tests at this stage,” Dr Aitken said.
“(With rapid antigen tests) you miss the early stages of the disease and the later stages of disease, which means you don’t detect Covid in people until they are much further into disease".
- MP Peter Aitken
Meantime, some Queensland MPs are being forced to have police escorts following the heightened risk of threats by anti-vaxxers and extremist protestors.
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