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Coronavirus Pandemic

NSW Government steps up COVID support for vulnerable communities

Taking Covid test sample from nose of senior woman

The NSW Government will provide free rapid antigen tests (RATs) to vulnerable communities and expand its existing program to include those accessing tests through the Federal Government’s Concessional Access Program, which is due to finish at the end of the month.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government is committed to making sure no one is left behind and ensuring vulnerable communities have the support they need through winter.

“We are making sure those people who need it most get the help they need to help keep themselves and the community safe through winter by stepping in and providing free rapid antigen tests,” Mr Perrottet said.

Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Seniors Mark Coure said the expanded program would allow eligible Commonwealth Concession Card holders in NSW to access 10 rapid antigen tests over three months up until 31 October 2022.

“The NSW Government has already been distributing free rapid antigen tests to vulnerable communities, and we have the capacity to extend this to those still needing them through the Federal Government’s program,” Mr Coure said.

“There is no need to rush or panic about whether or not you will be able to access tests—we have enough tests to support you.”

The NSW Government has already made millions of rapid antigen tests available to vulnerable communities, including multicultural communities, people with disability and their carers, homelessness services, social housing tenants, and children and young people in out-of-home care.

Minister for Families and Communities and Minister for Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the decision to expand the program to include those currently eligible under the soon to end Federal scheme, is about keeping people safe.

“We want to keep the pressure off the state’s most vulnerable as much as possible, and the expansion of this program is a key way for us to do that,” Mrs. Maclaren-Jones said.

If you are at a higher risk of severe illness, plan ahead. Speak to your doctor now about antiviral or other early treatment for COVID-19, so you understand your options if you test positive. If you are not at higher risk of severe illness, do a rapid antigen test unless you have arrived from overseas and have COVID-19 symptoms or your doctor tells you to have a PCR test.

Tests will be available through 210 neighbourhood and community centres located across the state.

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