Rapid antigen tests should have arrived earlier in Canberra: Chief Minister Andrew Barr | Canberra time

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ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr acknowledged supplies of rapid antigen tests are arriving in Canberra later than they should have, but said stocks would increase over the next fortnight. “It’s later than it should have been. It’s recognised. There are various issues there, some that I guess are Commonwealth issues and some that just reflect global demand right now,” Barr said. Mr Barr said the ACT had obtained 1.6million rapid COVID-19 tests – the equivalent of around four for every Canberran – but the Government should 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’ll really see a major supply pipeline. It’s going to be both the government and pharmacies and supermarkets,” he said. The ACT’s testing clinics saw heavy demand on Friday, with the Mitchell drive-thru site and the Garran walk-in center both at full capacity before 9 a.m. Cars were turned away before opening time at the Kambah clinic, where rapid antigen tests were distributed in the ACT to people eligible for the free COVID test for the first time. On Friday, 1,125 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the ACT, including 885 cases confirmed by PCR and 240 by rapid antigen tests. It was the first time that rapid test results were included in daily case counts. There were 27 people hospitalized, three of whom were on ventilation. The percentage of Canberrans aged 18 and over who received booster shots reached 28.1%. Mr Barr was reserved in his criticism of the federal government, which has been widely accused of failing to order enough rapid antigen tests and of blaming 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 are no tests. But part of the problem 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 needed for that vulnerable people confirm their diagnosis of COVID. Barr said the system should in future produce results within 24 hours. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this COVID-19 outbreak in the ACT is free to everyone. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you can, please sign up here. If you’re already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters to Regular updates. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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