COVID Test-Logging Axed as NSW Weighs up Virus Costs

COVID Test-Logging Axed as NSW Weighs up Virus Costs
A COVID-19 rapid antigen test kit is about to be used at home in Sydney, Australia, on Sep 29, 2021. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

More pandemic-era measures could be rolled back in New South Wales (NSW) after the state government moved to scrap a system allowing people to register positive tests.

Residents will no longer be able to log rapid antigen test results via the ServiceNSW app from the start of October in a change that would save up to $12 million (US$7.7 million) over the next four years.

When the tests were approved for use in 2021, people in NSW were required to register positive results but the system was made voluntary in October 2022.

Health Minister Ryan Park said the decision to axe the service was part of a return to normal in how authorities dealt with COVID-19.

Mr. Park said he was working with health officials to go "line by line" through any remaining pandemic-era measures to see if they were still needed or if the money could be funnelled into frontline services.

"I've got to make a decision and balance what is an appropriate measure that I need to take to keep the community safe and at the same time make people understand that there's other health challenges," the minister said.

The Minns Labor government in April announced the closure of the state's remaining free PCR testing clinics, which were costing about $11 million (US$7.1 million) per month to run.

It also recently rolled back rules requiring masks to be worn in hospitals except in cases involving people with flu or cold symptoms.

A handful of measures remain in place, including the provision of free ambulance services for COVID-affected patients.

Figures in Sept. 19th's state budget revealed the service cost taxpayers $7 million (US$4.5 million) in 2022/23 and is forecast to cost a further $8 million (US$5.2 million) this financial year.

Related Topics