Another MP calls for rapid testing

Gippsland South MLA Danny O'Brien receives a rapid COVID-19 test, which was negative.

ANOTHER Gippsland MP has backed calls for widespread rapid COVID antigen tests to help Victoria “exit from a cycle of lockdowns”.
Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien said the Nationals and Liberals had been pushing rapid testing, and undertook tests themselves before the start of parliament last week.
“Rapid testing involves a throat and nasal swab just like PCR tests — but is cheap and gives a result within about 15 minutes,” Mr O’Brien said.
“While no testing is perfect, rapid antigen testing can deliver a 95-99 per cent accuracy and should always be used with a PCR test as a back-up.
“What we’re calling for though would ensure more rapid testing is allowed, to give Victorians more of their lives back.”
Mr O’Brien 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,” he 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.”
Mr O’Brien said the recent G7 Summit of world leaders was able to go ahead because rapid testing was used at the beginning of each day.
“If it’s good enough for our world leaders to ensure their meeting can continue, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be good enough for Victorians,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said numerous experts had backed the use of rapid testing as a tool in the armoury to get people out of the pandemic, saying it was “perplexing” the state government hadn’t adopted its use more widely.
“Rapid testing is already being used by the Victorian courts system and the government is also using it in hotel quarantine and hospital situations, so the argument that it is not accurate enough are shot down by the government’s own action,” he said.
“Labor has only one tool to manage COVID and that seems to be statewide lockdowns, but there are alternatives.
“The Nationals and Liberals have always said we will seek to avoid statewide lockdowns, which should be a last resort not a first response.”
Gippsland East MLA Tim Bull also called has also called for rapid COVID testing.
Mr O’Brien added the the Nationals and Liberals would also like to see lockdowns limited to local government areas or postcodes, and areas without COVID should not be locked down in the same way hotspots were.
He said the Opposition would also like to see “better targeted vaccinations”.