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‘What now?’: Project host blasts PM

In an open message to Scott Morrison on Tuesday, Wilkinson wrote on Twitter: “Dear PM, You told us to lockdown. We did. Told us to vaccinate. We did. Told us to get out there. We did.“Now, businesses everywhere are closing, your ‘free market’ on RAT tests sees obscene price gouging, the vulnerable exposed & kids can’t get vax appt’s. What now?”A move toward using more rapid antigen tests instead of PCR tests was announced last week in response to an overwhelmed testing system that saw Australians queue in testing lines for hours and not get their results for days.However, a shortage of the rapid antigen tests has found people shopping around at multiple stores unable to get their hands on the tests.Some have reported paying up to $25 a test as retailers increase prices.In response to the chaos, a new website launched on Monday night, developed by Matt Hayward from software agency PipeLabs, for Australians to access data on which chemists and supermarkets in their local areas have rapid antigen tests available.Mr Morrison ruled out making the tests free for all on Monday, saying he didn’t want to undercut businesses.“We already make them free to everyone who is required to have one,” Mr Morrison told Sunrise on Monday.“We are now at this stage of the pandemic we just cannot make everything free because when someone tells you they will make something free, someone will always pay for it, and it is going to be you.”RATs are free if you’re a close contact, have symptoms, or work in aged care or state government health settings.The federal government has agreed to cover half the costs of rapid antigen tests which have been purchased by state governments.Mr Morrison also said plans were underway to finalise concessional arrangements for pensioners who buy over-the-counter tests.The Victorian department of health said on Tuesday the state had secured 34 million rapid antigen tests and were preparing to distribute them.“We are close to finalising those arrangements and will have more information soon on how and when Victorians can access them,” the department said on Twitter.Ms Wilkinson wasn’t the only one to call out Australia’s situation.Many Twitter users have vented their frustrations at the country’s lack of free rapid tests compared to other nations.Seven News reporter Teegan Dolling, who is based in London, shared pictures of piles of free tests with the sign, “please help yourself”.Nine News Europe correspondent Brett McLeod explained how easy it was to order the tests for free online in the UK.“Just ordered a packet of rapid tests online. For free,” he wrote.“Supplies have run down during Omicron, but in theory each household can do this every day here in the UK. “Hundreds of millions of tests sent out so far. For free.”

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