Feds step up efforts to dismiss claims over redirected RAT supplies


“Either Morrison’s government commandeered the stock using emergency powers or came in late with a sizable $26.29 million purchase offer that a supplier could not refuse given the huge profit margin offered,” Bailey tweeted.

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But Mr Hunt dismissed claims that federal authorities misappropriated tests from the Queensland Government.

“The claims that have been made about the Commonwealth are false. They have been referred to the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) because they are false,” he told reporters.

“I have confirmed with the Department of Health that the Commonwealth has not received and does not expect to receive any supplies from this supplier until at least February 7.”

He said the Federal Government was supplying 200,000 rapid antigen tests to Queensland on Saturday, and dismissed suggestions it had not planned enough to meet growing demand amid the Omicron surge.

The war of words comes as Australia moves to scrap the requirement for international arrivals to show a negative PCR test and will instead accept a rapid antigen result.

Current regulations require overseas travelers to return a negative PCR test taken up to three days before their flight, but from 1am on Sunday arrivals can instead provide a negative RAT within 24 hours of arrival. baording.

The change is in line with national measures, where RATs are accepted as a diagnostic tool.

The ban on entering the country after testing positive for COVID-19 has also been halved from 14 days to seven, bringing it in line with national isolation requirements.

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But entry quarantine requirements remain subject to state and territory restrictions.

Mr Hunt said the changes were “important steps” to help bring Australians home.

The COVID death toll continues to climb across the country, with 64 more reported on Saturday.

Tasmania has recorded its second virus-related death since the state reopened the border with the mainland in December.

State Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the person was suffering from various medical conditions and was extremely ill when she was admitted to Mersey Community Hospital in Latrobe on Thursday.

He believes they weren’t vaccinated.

Ten other deaths were also reported in Queensland, while SA had three.

Nationwide, there have been 20,148 cases in New South Wales, 16,016 in Victoria, 15,050 in Queensland, 2,193 in South Australia and 726 in Tasmania.

Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory have yet to release their daily figures.

Mr Hunt said there were ‘real signs’ the Omicron wave had peaked in NSW, and the country’s chief nursing and midwifery officer, Alison McMillan, is optimistic hospitalizations will begin soon to drop.


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