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

Person receiving COVID-19 test in Sydney, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks to the press.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced new rules for essential workers. (Images: Getty).
  • Workers in Fairfield required to get tested every three days.

  • Workers in Greater Sydney and surrounding lockdown regions leaving to work in the regions required to get tested every seven days.

  • Workers required to carry evidence they have been tested.

Essential workers in western Sydney’s Fairfield will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test every three days, as the Delta strain continues to spread in the region.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the new requirement on Tuesday morning, as the state recorded 89 fresh cases of community transmission.

“If you live in the Fairfield Local Government area, you to have regular COVID tests to demonstrate that you are [virus] free, even if you don’t have symptoms, because unfortunately, we see what we call asymptomatic people who don’t have symptoms, leaving the house, going out of the local area to work and unfortunately sending the virus to other parts of Greater Sydney or elsewhere and that’s what we have to stop,” Berejiklian said.

She said the government is working to ensure there is adequate testing capacity to meet this requirement.

“The key message is: Stay home, do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to, and if you do need to leave your home for essential work, if you live in the Fairfield Local Government area, please get tested every three days.”

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said this “surveillance testing” is required to balance the competing risks of transmission and requirement for workers to carry out their duties.

She said workers undergoing these three-day tests do not need to isolate while they await results, unless they have symptoms.

Workers must have evidence of tests

Additionally, workers from Greater Sydney travelling to the NSW regions for work will also need to get tested every seven days, as of midnight Tuesday.

Workers will be required to "have evidence" that they have had a test in the last seven days to show authorities, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard added.

The new requirements come after a new COVID-19 case was recorded in the regional NSW city of Goulburn. The case was transmitted by an essential worker who was required to travel to the region.

Whether a worker is essential or not is largely down to the employer and the employee, Hazzard said.

“It will be left to the worker and to the employer but my message also to the employers particularly is if you don’t need to have someone come from an area that is suspect and obviously has major COVID concerns presently, then perhaps it might be an idea to make arrangements for a worker from another area,” Hazzard said.

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Image: Yahoo Finance
Image: Yahoo Finance