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‘I apologise’: Critical detail of new testing rules

·3-min read
Old man gets COVID-19 test from nurse. Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has apologised for protracted testing waits in Sydney's Fairfield. (Images: Getty).

Fairfield residents have been reminded they don’t require a COVID-19 test until Saturday 17 July as frustrated workers spend hours in queues.

On Tuesday, the NSW government mandated essential workers in Fairfield undergo “surveillance testing” for COVID-19 every three days.

While workers don’t need to isolate until they have results, provided they are without symptoms, they do need to carry proof that they have received a test within the last three days.

However, testing centres early on Wednesday morning were overwhelmed by long queues, forcing NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet to issue an apology and a reminder.

“Can I just, on behalf of the government, apologise to everyone in Fairfield for this significant inconvenience,” Perrottet told 2GB.

“But also thank them, because it’s the sacrifice that they’re making today and last night that keeps people safe.”

He said Fairfield workers should also remember that the mandatory testing doesn’t come into effect until Saturday.

“Importantly, you can get tested outside of this Fairfield area. So if you’re working outside and you’re required to do one of these surveillance tests, there are other testing venues across metropolitan Sydney which you can attend,” he added.

According to Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone, people were waiting as long as six hours last night to be tested.

“Our testing clinics are in chaos and panic tonight and this cannot go on for days without the proper resources,” he wrote on Facebook.

“We have always supported testing, but ... the right resources need to be in place and prior notification needs to be provided.”

NSW Health will extend the hours of existing testing clinics in the area, while a new 24-hour clinic at Endeavour Sports Park car park will open in the coming days.

New COVID-19 testing rules: What you need to know

Here’s who needs to get a test and how often:

Essential workers in Fairfield: Every 3 days

Workers in Fairfield who are required to leave home to work must receive a COVID-19 test every three days, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

However, if they don’t have symptoms they don’t need to isolate while waiting for results. Workers that do have symptoms, along with every worker across Australia, must isolate if they do have symptoms.

As of Saturday, Fairfield workers must carry proof that they have been tested in the last three days. That could be in the form of a text message or email sent as evidence of testing by the testing laboratory or facility.

Essential workers in Greater Sydney: Every 7 days

If you’re an essential worker in Greater Sydney required to work at a location more than 50 kilometres outside the outer boundary of the current lockdown, you’ll need to get tested every seven days, regardless of if you have symptoms.

The current lockdown includes Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas, so if you are travelling more than 50 kilometres away from the boundary of these areas, you fall into this category.

You do not need to isolate if you don’t have symptoms, but must carry proof of testing.

All NSW: As symptoms occur, exposure to confirmed cases or case locations

The rest of NSW has been urged to remain on high alert against COVID-19. Generally speaking, if you have symptoms, you must get tested and isolate until you receive a negative result.

However, if you have been deemed a close contact of a positive case, you may need to isolate for 14 days, regardless of your test result.

Image: Yahoo Finance
Image: Yahoo Finance
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