Monday, 15 February 2021

Govt must learn and bolster testing orders


“The Government must learn from the latest Covid-19 outbreak and bolster its border testing orders so that further lockdowns don’t damage livelihoods,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“These cases have potentially exposed further holes in our border testing regime which need to be plugged as soon as possible.

“The Prime Minister suggested this morning that airside and landside workers were both employed at the same facility, but only one group was subject to the Government’s regular Covid-19 testing regime.

“The PM said on Morning Report: ‘The order applies to some of the staff employed at this place because they were airside and more frequently in contact with at-risk people, and some were being tested at the direction of the employer.’

“The immediate question is: If airside staff who interact with high-risk returnees are working alongside landside staff at the same facility, why are the latter not also subject to the Government’s testing order?

“These cases also suggest that the border testing order may need to be amended to ensure Covid-19 tests aren’t missed if workers are on annual leave.

“The Government needs to clarify whether workers are able to skip mandatory testing if they are away from work. It would unacceptable if such a critical element of our Covid-19 defence could be so easily circumvented.

“ACT’s Covid-19 Response Plan says that the role of government is to set clear rules of the game and to take a risk proportionate approach. Such an approach would require equally at-risk groups of workers be subject to the same testing requirements.”