The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has called on the Andrews Government to implement rapid testing to help Gippsland get back on its feet and prevent the yo-yo state-wide lockdowns being endured by Victorians.
Ms Bath undertook a rapid test before entering state parliament this morning.
Rapid testing is conducted in the same manner as the regular PCR test but looks for a protein on the outside of the coronavirus, whereby the PCR test looks for viral fragments. If an individual tests positive to rapid testing, it is then verified by a PCR test.
Ms Bath said rapid antigen tests, which can produce a result in just 15 minutes, should be rolled out in essential settings including border checkpoints, care settings and major events to quickly identify infectious individuals.
“Rapid testing would add an important layer of protection and be easily undertaken in identified settings,” said Ms Bath.
“It would be a game changer for the many industries that have been hamstrung by restrictions – minimising the risk of transmission to help keep small businesses operational and the economy moving.
“The Andrews Government should be firing every bullet in the public health armoury to prevent future state-wide lockdowns – Labor can’t keep sacrificing small business, education and the regional economy each time a case of Covid-19 breaks out.”
Ms Bath said rapid antigen tests are inexpensive and have proven to work best during the early stages of infection when the viral load is at its highest.
“Taking only 15 minutes rapid testing would add another layer protection, complementing PCR testing and helping to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“At this stage of the pandemic it makes no sense to limit Victoria’s testing regime to rely on PCR only, any increase in testing would enhance early identification and help to quickly stamp out lines of transmission.
“Daniel Andrews says face masks are an effective insurance policy to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but rapid testing would deliver an even greater level of insurance to get our lives back to a resemblance of normal.
“Lockdowns should only ever be used as a last resort.
“Victoria needs a clear pathway out of constant lockdowns and rapid testing is an obvious part of that plan to get us back to some normality.
“Rapid testing has been adopted in the United Kingdom and at major events in Europe like the G7 last month have been able to proceed because Europe is using rapid tests. If that’s good enough for the G7, surely it is definitely good enough for us.”