Victoria introduces new rule for positive rapid Covid tests

·2-min read

Victoria has introduced a hotline for people to register positive rapid antigen tests with the capacity to report 50,000 daily.

The state government made it mandatory to report RAT results from Friday as Victoria recorded 21,728 new cases of coronavirus and six more deaths.

Acting premier Jacinta Allan told reporters the website will mean fewer Victorians will be waiting to hear back from the lab.

In this photo illustration a man uses a COVID-19 rapid antigen test kit at home in Sydney, Australia.
A man uses a rapid antigen test at his home in Sydney. Source: Getty Images

Anyone who receives a positive RAT will be classified as a "probable" case and must isolate for seven days and notify their contacts. They will receive the same clinical and financial support as PCR confirmed cases.

Ms Allan said the form will contain nine questions.

“It should only take a couple of minutes to work through these questions,” she said.

She reinforced returning a positive RAT is the same as returning a positive PCR test.

Testing commander Jeroen Weimar said the hotline and form will check symptoms, whether people are a contact, the support they need, their vaccination status and pre-existing conditions.

He said it would allow for care to be more quickly provided.

The RATs have at times proved difficult to find, but it's hoped their use will reduce pressure on the overloaded PCR testing system.

By 9am on Friday 18 state-run PCR testing sites had reached capacity and closed, compared to 35 sites at the same time on Thursday, as new rapid antigen testing rules came into force overnight.

People queue outside a Covid-19 testing site in Collingwood in Melbourne, Australia.
People queue for testing in Collingwood ahead of Christmas last year. Source: Getty Images

Victoria is rolling out rapid tests at state-run testing sites. Four sites handed out RATs in a pilot program on Wednesday, and on Thursday that figure rose to 24 mainly metropolitan sites where asymptomatic people were offered the rapid test to use at home.

The 44 million tests ordered by the state are in transit.

Restrictions have also been reintroduced, including density limits of one person per two square metres for indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.

Bookings are also open for children five to 11 to be vaccinated, with 25,000 appointments taken up in the 24 hours after bookings opened.

with AAP

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