Covid-19: Aussies must plan to test ‘restrictions’ on bank holidays

A likely spike in Covid cases due to Christmas celebrations means people need to be prepared with a plan if they test positive for the virus while on holiday, authorities say.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said reduced availability of PCR tests and opening hours of GPs over the festive period must be taken into account to ensure vulnerable people can remain safe from Covid.

While the data confirmed the state had passed the peak of the current wave, the decline in infections would slow significantly as families and friends gather for Christmas, Dr. Chant to 2GB Radio.

We’re seeing some signs that we’re starting to see a decline, but the rate of decline is really uncertain,” she said.

We know this time of year is also a time when we do a lot of mixing and socializing, so that might slow the rate of decline as well.

“I would urge everyone to do these little things to minimize their chances of contracting Covid and to take extra care of the vulnerable and the elderly.”

Wearing masks is still an “effective measure” to prevent the virus from spreading, said Dr. Chant, and while she didn’t advise people to wear masks at Christmas parties, she said they remain vital in hospitals and aged care facilities.

“You can just do these little things that reduce the likelihood or frequency of you getting Covid infections,” she said.

dr Chant stressed the importance of people who are susceptible to the virus and eligible for antiviral drugs having a plan for how they would access the drugs if needed.

She said people would need to be organized in case they did become infected as GPs would only work limited hours and not all PCR testing sites would be open over Christmas and New Year.

“Do you know if you’re eligible for antivirals and do you have a testing plan and also an antiviral plan,” she said.

“Rapid antigen tests are useful; However, if you have symptoms and are negative on a rapid antigen test you should not rely on it, especially if you are a candidate for antiviral drugs you should have a PCR test.

“If you have symptoms and you have a positive RAT, you can count on that and be connected to care.”

NSW residents can check open Covid testing facilities on the State Government’s website, while Covid patients can contact Healthdirect’s 24-hour helpline on 1800 022 222 to be connected to available GPs and pharmacies.

Originally posted as Aussies warned about ‘restrictions’ testing during the festive period

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