Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has reiterated calls for the Victorian Government to roll out rapid COVID-19 tests after being screened on the steps of Victorian Parliament yesterday.
Ms Kealy took a rapid antigen test and received her negative result in minutes. She is now urging the government to adopt the testing as part of its COVID-19 response, rather than relying on cruel lockdowns.
"Rapid testing involves a throat and shallow nasal swab, and is best used in the first four days after infection when you might not be showing symptoms yet," she said.
"It would not replace PCR testing, but as a screening test it would be a game-changer for managing COVID. It is a great tool that we should be using in Victoria to minimise lockdowns and their associated harms."
The tests could potentially provide relief for many cross-border residents who have suffered from consistent lockdowns, despite often living hundreds of kilometres away from active cases.
For residents living in Lowan, the state's biggest electorate, fewer lockdowns would allow them to undertake everyday tasks without the fear of those freedoms being snatched away from them in an instant.
"It would mean we can support more businesses to open, open our borders, allow our children to remain at school, allow loved ones in hospital or care to have visitors, and keep sport, arts and other activities going so we can look after our physical and mental health," Ms Kealy said.
"In doing this, we would remove an enormous amount of anguish and burden for Victorians who have faced so much hardship through Labor's continued lockdowns.
"At $10 a pop, rapid tests are also affordable for the government to support, particularly when compared the harsh high cost of lockdowns."
Ms Kealy said that the recent G7 summit of world leaders was able to go ahead because of rapid testing being used at the start of each day.
"If it's good enough for our prime ministers and presidents to use to ensure their work and lives can continue, it's absolutely good enough for the people these leaders represent to use so that their lives and businesses can continue too," she said.
"The Liberal Nationals team will seek to avoid statewide lockdowns through five simple steps - including rapid testing - because lockdowns should be a last resort, not a first response.
"They (lockdowns) cause immense harm and this should never be ignored."
The Liberal Nationals' five-point plan involves:
- Limiting lockdowns to LGAs or postcodes. Areas without COVID should not be locked down in the same way hotspots are.
- Fixing contact tracing. This is key to putting a fence around future outbreaks.
- Deploying rapid testing. Waiting 24 hours or more for a result puts more Victorians at risk.
- Releasing the health advice. We all deserve to know the basis for harsh measures that lock us down.
- Better targeted vaccinations.