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Communities struggle to access, afford rapid antigen tests

Signs indicating that this chemist is out of Covid-19 rapid antigen tests (RAT) are seen. Source: AAP

With the push to have more people undergo at-home rapid tests, community leaders say there's been a struggle in parts of the country to obtain them. The Prime Minister has ruled out making rapid tests free to the public, as some question if Scott Morrison is protecting business interests over people's health.

As demand for at-home testing kits soar across the country, families and organisations alike are struggling to get their hands on them.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed calls to make free tests widely available to the public despite rapidly growing demand.

"We've invested hundreds of billions of dollars getting Australia through this crisis. But we're now in a stage of the pandemic where you can't just make everything free, because when someone tells you they want to make something free, someone's always going to pay for it, and it's going to be you."

The Federal Government will spend 375 million dollars on rapid tests, but they will only be free for confirmed COVID19 cases, close contacts, and in high-risk settings such as aged care.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has condemned Mr Morrison's decision as a public policy failure, saying the public isn;t asking for 'everything to be free', just a temporary measure in the middle of a critical phase of the pandemic.

"He was wrong not to prepare to have rapid antigen tests fully available, and they shouldn't be priced out of people being able to get them either. People who can't afford them should be given them. That's the truth of the matter. Because, otherwise, the consequences are more dire."

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to this information in Punjabi.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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