26 September 2023

RATs run free in rapid test giveaway

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WA Health has announced that millions more Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are to be given free to members of the public.

The next phase of the WA Free RAT Program, which began in late February, is to involve it trebling from the initial five tests on offer.

In a statement, WA Health said all households could take up the offer of up to 15 free individual RATs, with 10 extra tests to be automatically delivered to people who previously registered for the first five free tests.

“Free RATs will also be on offer at numerous pop-up distributions at public sites including 500,000 free RATs to be handed out at selected train stations, major events, universities, TAFEs and shopping centres in metropolitan and regional locations,” WA Health said.

“An additional 74,000 RATs will be distributed directly to households in remote and town-based communities through bespoke arrangements to get more RATs into the communities,” it said.

WA Health said every State Member of Parliament would receive 1,000 RATs to be provided to constituents in need, through their electorate office.

Announcing the measure, Premier, Mark McGowan said the State’s preparedness for Omicron had so far meant it had been fortunate when it came to the impact of COVID-19 in the community.

Mr McGowan said this next phase of the WA Free RAT Program brought the current distribution cost to $38.1 million, including deliveries and public collection sites.

“By providing free RATs to all Western Australians, we are able to ensure everyone is prepared for the wave of Omicron and best placed to stay safe and limit unnecessary spread of the virus,” he said.

“Due to international events, there is no doubt petrol prices are impacting cost of living pressures, and we want to make sure this doesn’t prevent households from having access to RAT tests,” Mr McGowan said.

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