COVID testing at Bondi. Source: Reuters
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  • State and Territory leaders will meet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to discuss the COVID-19 testing crisis, as case numbers skyrocket across Australia
  • NSW broke its daily case record on Wednesday, notching 35,054 new infections, while Victoria also broke records with 17,636 new cases
  • The huge jump in daily case numbers has placed pressure on COVID-19 PCR testing clinics and created strong demand from at-home Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)
  • Mr Morrison is expected to backflip on his previous position of not making RATs free, by offering discounts to welfare recipients and pensioners
  • Queensland and Victorian State Government’s have secured millions of RATs for residents, while Federal Labor is pushing for free at-home tests for all Australians

State and Territory leaders are meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to discuss the COVID-19 testing crisis, as case numbers skyrocket across Australia.

Mr Morrison is expected to backflip on his previous position of not offering free at-home tests, by offering discounts to welfare recipients and pensioners

NSW broke its daily case record on Wednesday, notching 35,054 new infections, a big jump on Tuesday’s 23,131 new cases.

Victoria also broke records with 17,636 new cases today, with another 11 people dying overnight after contracting COVID-19.

Queensland posted 6781 new infections, while South Australia topped 3493 daily cases and Tasmania hit 867 new cases.

In the Northern Territory and the ACT, 117 and 810 new cases were confirmed on Wednesday, respectively.

The huge jump in daily case numbers has placed pressure on COVID-19 PCR testing clinics across the nation, resulting in long-lines, closed clinics and lost or delayed results.

The spike in cases, predominantly believed to be the highly-contagious Omicron variant, has also created strong demand for at-home Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).

Online reports show a single RAT can cost more than $30, with the consumer watchdog yesterday vowing to call out retailers which hike up prices for the in-demand tests.

Mr Morrison headed into the National Cabinet meeting with a proposal to provide cash payments to welfare recipients and pensioners for up to five RATs.

Additionally, several state and territory governments have secured additional RATs which will be handed out for free to close contacts or residents with symptoms.

Federal Labor Leader Anthony Albanese said the tests should be made free to all Australians who need them.

“It is very clear the simplest and most cost-efficient way is to make tests free and available,” Mr Albanese said.

“It’s clear that the costs of tests are dwarfed by the costs of inaction.”

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