If the Government really wants to get on top of the Auckland outbreak it needs to come up with new and innovative ways of testing the affected communities.
Only around five thousand tests are being done a day. To know whether ‘mystery cases’ are just bad luck or the tip of an iceberg, there must be tens, if not hundreds of thousands of tests.
The Government is not being proactive, instead hoping people will go out of their way to have an uncomfortable nasal pharyngeal test.
The Government should be using the Mr Whippy business model for saliva testing, setting up mobile testing clinics in outbreak areas and allowing saliva testing there.
What would be even better, is mass issuing of point of care tests. These are used all over the world as a routine procedure, but not here.
Unfortunately, the Government has actually banned point of care tests. A public health order says:
“A person must not import, manufacture, supply, sell, pack, or use a point-of-care test unless… Director-General may exempt any point-of-care test or class of point-of-care tests.”
The Director-General needs to be asked if he is using these powers right now. Has he had an application for an exemption? Has he solicited any? When will he decide?
As I said in Parliament back in June “You have to ask yourself why the Government would take it on itself to actually ban the—they’ve done this all the way through COVID with Gazette notices, banning testing kits. You know, why shouldn’t people be able to avail themselves of information? Why shouldn’t New Zealanders be able to innovate in response to a crisis?”
Not only should there be mass surveillance of essential workers, but rapid testing kits also then send them out to affected areas in the mail.
Jacinda Ardern keeps saying we need to “test, test, test” so how about she makes it easier and more appealing for New Zealanders to do just that.
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