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FAST FACTS – What experts have said about rapid testing

  • Professor Adrian Esterman, University of South Australia epidemiologist said rapid testing should be considered for those workplaces. “You actually have a van going along to a workplace and doing rapid antigen testing.” “You do regular checks on these workplaces, like food distribution, where you know that there is a very high chance of infections being spread.”

  • Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, UNSW Professor of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases wants rapid testing rolled out across businesses, hospitals, schools and at state borders. “They only take 10 to 15 minutes and they’re a fraction of the price.” “You’ve got real-time results and then you could go onto the work floor knowing that you won’t place any of your mates at work at risk of COVID, and you won’t get COVID.”

  • Dr Ian Norton, a former head of WHO’s emergency medical team. “This could stop infectious people and workers in high-risk environments from spending another day out in the community, in crowds and continuing with their activities before realising they are positive.” “Rapid antigen tests are cost effective and can be done immediately, in the place of work.” “With PCR tests it can be yesterday’s news by the time they are confirmed positive.”

  • Dr Henning Liljeqvist, Sydney epidemiologist and public health consultant said rapid antigen tests are “cheaper than PCR and quite accurate”

  • Dr Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Epidemiologist said “Maybe getting rapid testing out there is one of the ways to test more people and do more routine testing in areas where we think we can get the best bang for our buck.”

  • Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, UNSW Professor of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases “you use rapid point of care tests so that those that can’t work from home, or essential services get tested at the border barricade.”

  • Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Professor of Practice (Sociology and Political Theory) Director, Culture Strategy, University of Sydney and Professor and Marc Stears, Director, Sydney Policy Lab, University of Sydney. “Australian states should be working to keep our schools open — even during outbreaks – by vaccinating our teachers, improving ventilation, mandating masks where required and deploying rapid testing.”

  • Dr Kerry Chant PSM on rapid testing clinics “The idea is we are trying to condense the time it takes to get to the next round of contacts.”

  • Professor Catherine Bennett, Deakin’s Chair in Epidemiology said “Rapid testing will most likely have more of a role to play ahead, it is not 100 per cent protection as there will be some false negatives and false positives if used at scale, we have to be prepared for that.”

  • Dr Nick Coatsworth, Clinical Associate Professor Australian National University. “Rapid Antigen Testing of year 12s to enable return to school is the sort of focussed, tactical policy decision that is required in this situation. Understand and balance the non COVID negative effects of lockdown. Use all tools in the arsenal.”

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