27 September 2023

More RATs to run free at WA schools

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The Department of Health has announced that an additional 11.87 million Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are to be distributed to Public, Catholic and Independent schools in the coming weeks.

In a statement, the Department said the RATs would assist families and staff with testing and early detection of COVID-19 after new sub-variants of the virus had led to an increase in infections and reinfections.

“The allocation complements other recommendations following National Cabinet to strongly encourage mask wearing indoors, which includes schools, to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” the Department said.

“It also supports the WA Free RAT Program, which has seen more than three million tests handed out through pop-ups at events, train stations and shopping centres in the past month alone.”

Minister for Health, Amber-Jade Sanderson said WA was the only State to hand out free Rapid Antigen Tests to the public, and the program had been extremely successful, with millions of tests distributed.

“Early testing and isolation remains an essential part of our COVID-19 strategy to keep vulnerable community members safe from COVID-19 and reduce case numbers,” Ms Sanderson said.

“We encourage everyone to continue to test and follow COVID-19 protocols, keep up with vaccinations, maintain COVID-safe practices and not get complacent as we manage these new sub-variants.”

She was supported by the Minister for Education and Training, Sue Ellery who said face-to-face learning was the key to children and young peoples’ education and development, as well as their overall wellbeing.

“This additional distribution of Rapid Antigen Tests, available for both students and staff, will help to safeguard students and staff from COVID-19 transmission and keep our school communities operational and safe,” Ms Ellery said.

More information on staying safe this winter and reducing the risk of infection is accessible on the Department’s website at this PS News link.

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