“A gazette notice allowing more Rapid Antigen Tests (point of care tests) is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT first called for these tests to be more widely available back in June last year. Finally, more than six months later the Government has woken up, although they still seem half asleep.

“There are 67 brands of tests available in Australia that have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration(TGA) and they have a shortage. We are hamstrung by the doctrinaire Medsafe ‘letting’ New Zealanders have only a handful of tests and under limited conditions.

“They should also be available in more places. Why can’t people buy them online or in a supermarket? Limiting them to pharmacies is short sighted.

“COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said this morning there are six or seven million RATs in the country. That’s not even enough for two per person.

“Instead of preparing months ago, the Government is now playing catch up.  Omicron won’t slow down so the Government needs to speed up its response. That should start with approving more tests and making them widely available.”