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The COVID testing regimen epidemiologists want Australia to ‘urgently assess and adopt’

3AW Mornings
Article image for The COVID testing regimen epidemiologists want Australia to ‘urgently assess and adopt’

A group of infectious diseases experts have penned an open letter calling on federal and state authorities to “urgently assess and adopt” stricter COVID-19 testing measures.

In the letter, the experts call for daily or near daily rapid antigen testing for those at highest risk of contracting the virus, including quarantine and airport workers.

Professor of epidemiology at UNSW, Mary-Louise McLaws, one of infectious diseases experts who signed the letter, says she’s been “concerned for quite some time about the safety of the community from quarantine hotels”.

Professor McLaws says the current process of testing quarantine workers once a week is not adequate, as they can become infectious three days after exposure to COVID-19.

“There are six other days in the week where they can become infected and they can start to become infectious to others on day three … and still have no symptoms,” she told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

Professor McLaws says all returned travellers should also receive a rapid antigen test, which returns results in under 15 minutes, when they arrive in Australia.

That information could be used to determine who should be sent immediately to a ‘hot hotel’.

“Then we know what we’re dealing with,” she said.

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