News Coronavirus Vulnerable NSW communities get free RATs
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Vulnerable NSW communities get free RATs

COVID isolation payments under discussion as cases spike

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People from vulnerable communities across NSW can access 10 free rapid antigen tests in three months, with the state expanding its concession program as COVID cases surge.

The NSW government will provide free RATs to vulnerable communities by expanding its existing program to include those accessing tests through the federal government’s Concessional Access Program.

The federal government’s scheme, which provides free rapid tests to concession card holders, is due to expire at the end of July.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said his government was committed to leaving no one behind through winter.

“We want to make sure that our vulnerable communities have access to these tests,” he said on Friday.

“We know they work, we know that they make a real difference and are a crucial part of everyone taking that responsibility as we move through this next phase of COVID.”

“[The virus] is not going away and that means we have to keep taking personal responsibility.”

Mr Perrottet also urged residents to take up their flu and COVID-19 booster shots.

“There’s a broader responsibility we have, and that’s to … ease the pressure on the health system here in our state and around the country.”

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said the expanded program would allow eligible concession card-holders to access 10 rapid antigen tests over the three months up to 31 October 2022.

“There is no need to rush or panic about whether or not you will be able to access tests – we have enough tests to support you,” he said.

Vulnerable communities eligible for free tests include people with disability and their carers, homelessness services, social housing tenants, multicultural groups as well as children and young people in out-of-home care.

Tests will be available through 210 neighbourhood and community centres located across the state.

– AAP