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  • Mobile coronavirus test sites head for remote Australia

    Author: AAP

Indigenous Australian will soon get access to mobile coronavirus tests sites which can turn around tests in 45 minutes.

Mobile coronavirus test sites will be rolled out across Australia's remote indigenous communities.

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The 83 new sites will be able to confirm coronavirus cases in 45 minutes, with some communities having previously had to wait 10 days.

The program is being managed by the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, and the International Centre for Point of Care Testing at Flinders University in Adelaide.

The Kirby Institute's Rebecca Guy said for many rural and remote areas, the nearest laboratory currently able to conduct tests was hundreds of kilometres away.


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"The COVID-19 point-of-care technology will bring the laboratory to the community," Professor Guy said.

"This program will provide front line clinicians in remote communities with the tools to quickly test possible cases and their contacts.

"A negative result will minimise unnecessary isolation or evacuation, whereas a positive will lead to quick action to isolate and provide clinical care for the patient and to follow up with their contacts."
University of Queensland Professor James Ward, a member of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander COVID-19 Advisory Group, said accessible and equitable access was critical for the wellbeing of indigenous communities.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are vulnerable to this new pandemic due to high rates of chronic disease, severe overcrowding and because almost 40 per cent of our people live in remote and or outer regional areas in Australia," he said.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was clear the rapid testing could save lives.
While Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt said a coronavirus outbreak in remote communities could be devastating.
"There are higher rates of chronic conditions and other health issues in these communities and it can be hard to access health care," he said.
The mobile sites are expected to be ready by mid-May.
Remote indigenous communities have already been closed off from outsiders to protect residents from COVID-19.


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