WATCH LIVE: Scott Morrison’s press conference following the National Cabinet, definition of close contacts and new testing regime to be defined
Following Thursday’s National Cabinet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new definition of close contact and “how they should self-isolate and be tested” that will come into effect at midnight Thursday in five jurisdictions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison presented a new definition of close contact and “how they should self-isolate and be tested” which will come into effect in four states and the ACT from midnight Thursday.
The new definition and accompanying rules will take effect at midnight tonight in New Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT.
Tasmania will follow on January 1, and the Northern Territory and Western Australia will make announcements in the coming days to confirm how they will transition to these new definitions.
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Mr Morrison said: “Except in exceptional circumstances, close contact is family contact, or similar to household, of a confirmed case only”.
“A family contact is someone who lives with a case or has spent more than four hours with it in a home, accommodation or care facility. “
“You are only close contact if you live with someone or have been in accommodation with someone for more than four hours who has actually contracted COVID.
“It’s not someone who is in contact with someone who has had COVID. It’s with someone in particular who has COVID, ”he said.
The prime minister said under the new rules a confirmed case of COVID-19 would have to be isolated for seven days from the positive result.
“From the date they took the test, they should self-isolate for seven days and have a negative rapid test, a rapid antigen test, on the sixth day before they can leave isolation after seven days. “, did he declare.
While those who are positive can use a RAT test for the sixth day test, people who are symptomatic contacts of positive cases should get tested using a PCR test.
“A close contact who is asymptomatic should undergo a rapid antigen test, and if positive, then they should undergo a PCR test.
“In that case, they become a confirmed case and the rules that apply to confirmed cases apply to them,” Mr. Morrison said.
However, close contacts who return a negative test should remain isolated for seven days as symptoms may present later.
These close contacts should then perform a rapid antigen test on the sixth day.
Mr Morrison said that for people who do not fall under the new definition of close contact, there is no need to queue for PCR testing.
“You should go home. Go to the beach, go do whatever you want to do. Read a book in the park.
“Follow all the normal, sane things you would do, watch your symptoms, follow safe COVID practices,” he said.
The prime minister also said COVID testing centers will start providing rapid antigen testing in addition to PCR testing.
“Over the next few weeks, we will be moving from PCR to these rapid antigenic tests at testing centers across the state, over the next two weeks.
“Some big states will be working to get these rapid antigen tests to these testing centers as soon as they can and that will happen over the next few days and weeks.
“So if you show up to these testing centers for all of the reasons I have given, you will either get a rapid antigen test or a PCR test.
“If you are eligible for a rapid antigen test and there is a stay at that time, you will receive one. You will go home, take it and follow these rules,” he said. .
Mr Morrison said changing the rules about who is close contact and who should have a PCR test or rapid antigen test will free up space in exhausted testing centers.
“This should drastically, we hope, over the next few weeks, significantly reduce the number of people who undergo these PCR tests, which means that we will be able to increase the turnaround time for these tests, by doing get the results to those who need them. them.
“On top of that, it will also hopefully free up a lot more of the workforce that is currently focused on these tests to be able to support other pandemic management priorities.”