Free RATs given out in SA ahead of PCR sites permanently closing

Five free rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be offered to all South Australians over the next five weeks, before all drive-through PCR tests close across the state.
SA Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier made the announcement this afternoon, saying COVID-19 cases had begun to plateau across the state.
But she said it was too early to definitively say whether the state had hit the peak of the current COVID-19 wave.

PCR testing.
All drive-through PCR testing sites will be closed in South Australia by January 8. (Getty)

SA recorded exactly 9000 cases of the virus in the week from November 18 to 25, with 140 people hospitalised, including 11 in ICU.
There were eight deaths of people with COVID-19 recorded during that time, in people aged from their 40s to 90s.
Spurrier said up to half a million RATs will be available at existing RAT collection points for people to collect for free until the end of the year.
Meanwhile, it will no longer be free to get tested at a PCR site, unless South Australians have a referral from a GP.
The state’s drive-through PCR testing sites will also be wound down over the next six weeks, with all to be permanently closed by January 8.
Spurrier said she would “feel sad” when the last PCR site was closed.
“I love those drive-through sites,” she said.
“But in another sense, it’s a celebration that we’ve got to this stage in the pandemic where we don’t need that pandemic response.”
SA’s decision to wind back COVID-19 testing comes as COVID-19 cases have jumped again across multiple states in the past seven days, with Australia facing its fourth wave of the virus.
Collectively the nation has reported tens of thousands of new cases today across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. 
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: A COVID-19 testing clinic sign at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on January 21, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. NSW has recorded 46 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, marking the deadliest day in the state since the start of the pandemic. NSW also recorded 25,168 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hour reporting period. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
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