Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Kiwis can handle truth on COVID-19 testing limits

“The Prime Minister needs to tell the people and trust the people when it comes to restrictions on testing for COVID-19”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“There are clearly restrictions on testing. This is in no way a criticism of the Government. But the PM needs to be open with New Zealanders about why testing is being rationed and her plan to overcome the current restrictions.

“Jacinda Ardern told Parliament that doctors should test for COVID-19 if they feel they need to. She then said that only 1,500 tests can be done each day. With approximately 3,600 GPs in New Zealand, what she’s really saying is a GP can test a patient every two to three days if they want to.

“The PM must clearly explain what’s stopping more tests being done. Is it the lack of a reagent needed to test for COVID-19? Is it general testing equipment? Is it personnel to carry out the tests?

“New Zealanders can handle the truth. If there are limits to testing, the people should be told why. Only with clear knowledge can we work through this issue confidently.

“Having accepted there is a shortage, the Prime Minister can then explain how the Government is seeking to increase testing. People will be much more forgiving if they’re just told the truth.

“The Government should also be investigating how other countries – such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore – have been able to test so many people. If they can overcome constraints and test more people, there is no reason New Zealand can’t.”