National Cabinet met today to discuss the response to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, new approaches to test, trace isolate and quarantine including the use of rapid antigen tests (RATs) and the vaccine rollout and booster programme.
Rapid Antigen Tests
National Cabinet noted that COVID-19 tests are free and available at state testing clinics for people who have symptoms or are a close contact.
National Cabinet agreed that up to 10 Rapid Antigen Tests over three months (a maximum of 5 in a month) will be made available free through pharmacies to people holding the following cards:
Pension Concession Card
Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card
Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold, White or Orange Card
Health Care Card
Low Income Health Card
These free tests will become available in the next two weeks. However, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and close contacts should attend a state clinic for free testing and not go to a pharmacy to receive a free test. Costs for providing these tests will be shared 50:50 between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories consistent with COVID shared funding agreements.
National Cabinet also announced the change of Covid-19 testing requirements
Changes to testing requirements
National Cabinet agreed changes to testing requirements for all states except for Western Australia including:
Removing the requirement for truck drivers to have rolling seven days tests.
Testing will not be required before patients present to hospital.
Confirmation PCR test will not be required after a positive RAT. Individual states and territories will provide further information on how a positive RAT will be recorded. Anyone who tests positive is encouraged to contact their GP for support as required.
Testing before interstate travel will no longer be required except for Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia, with Queensland and Tasmania to review these requirements in the coming weeks. State testing clinics will not be able to be used for interstate travel purposes.
A second post arrival test for international travellers will not be required except for Queensland, who will review this requirement when they reach 90 per cent double vaccination rate.