THE Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has called on the state government to implement rapid testing to help Gippsland get back on its feet.
Ms Bath undertook a rapid test before entering Victorina Parliament last week.
Rapid testing is conducted in the same manner as the regular PCR test but looks for a protein on the outside of the coronavirus, whereby the PCR test looks for viral fragments.
If an individual tests positive to rapid testing, it is then verified by a PCR test.
Ms Bath said rapid antigen tests, which can produce a result in just 15 minutes, should be rolled out in essential settings, including border checkpoints, care settings and major events to quickly identify infectious individuals.
“Rapid testing would add an important layer of protection and be easily undertaken in identified settings,” she said.
“It would be a game changer for the many industries that have been hamstrung by restrictions – minimising the risk of transmission to help keep small businesses operational and the economy moving.”
Ms Bath said rapid antigen tests were inexpensive and had proven to work best during the early stages of infection when the viral load was at its highest.
“Taking only 15 minutes, rapid testing would add another layer protection, complementing PCR testing and helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,” she said.
“At this stage of the pandemic, it makes no sense to limit Victoria’s testing regime to rely on PCR only; any increase in testing would enhance early identification and help to quickly stamp out lines of transmission.
“Victoria needs a clear pathway out of constant lockdowns and rapid testing is an obvious part of that plan to get us back to some normality.”