(Image: Supplied)

Shifting from a state (Victoria) which had two new COVID-19 cases yesterday to a country (the UK) which had 24,470, I’m naturally keen to keep an eye on my negative (I hope) or positive (I hope not) status.

Just like in Australia I could go out, join the queue, get to the front of the line, take an accurate PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and in 24 or 48 hours get a result. 

Or, here in London, I can stroll round to the town hall, pick up a free pack of seven “COVID-19 Self-Test (Rapid Antigen Test)” kits, test myself before breakfast, make my coffee and, by the time I’ve finished, have a result. The bar by the C means I’m OK, a bar by the T would mean I was in trouble, and no bars would mean I did the test wrong.

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(Image: Supplied)

OK it’s not as accurate as a “gold standard” PCR test, but it’s not bad. And has anyone ever said we can have too much testing? In the past week I’ve tested myself four times: negative, negative, negative, negative.

Unfortunately in Australia we can’t do rapid antigen self-testing. We’re prohibited from having the (Chinese made) test kits the NHS hands out for free.

We’re forbidden to access something which would help the COVID-19 fight; something which would save a lot of people a lot of time; something which would make a lot of us happier.

Of course, the decision to ban self-testing is made by the same government(s) which can’t manage vaccinations and can’t manage hotel quarantine. Did anybody mention “nanny state?”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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