A rapid screening to pick up fully vaccinated coronavirus carriers that could be spreading the virus unknowingly is on the cards in ACT.
This was revealed by the ACT Chief Minister today in Canberra.
Barr said there was need for a rapid antigen swabs with capacity to return results within 20 minutes to catch asymptomatic infections.
“One of the worries moving forward is that fully vaccinated people, a lot of them will be asymptomatic,” said Barr.
Adds Barr:“They’ll be carriers of the virus and they’ll infect other people, but they won’t even know they’ve got it.”
Canberra recorded 17 new local infections on Wednesday, with the ACT’s active cases rising to 222.
Barr however said rapid antigen testing were less accurate but quicker than nose and throat swabs, to weed cases out.
Fully vaccinated people with the virus will be quarantined.
Fully vaccinated people are much less likely to die or become seriously ill, but can still contract and transmit the virus.
“The obligations around protecting other members of the community, other members of your own family, don’t end when you’re fully vaccinated,” the chief minister said.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is keen for Australia to use home rapid antigen tests when the Therapeutic Goods Administration makes them more widely available.
There are 28 tests approved for use, but they carry conditions around supervision so are largely limited to workplaces.
Home testing is being widely used is the US, Europe and UK.
The TGA earlier this month expressed caution about people giving themselves rapid antigen tests without training.
The ACT is concerned about a drop in the number of people heading to its testing clinics, with just 1988 processed on Tuesday.
Barr is however confident that its full vaccination coverage will exceed 95 per cent.
Close to 56 per cent of the eligible population is double-dosed in ACT while the rate for first shots has passed 80 per cent.
Canberra shall be in lockdown until October 15.
Just one of the 17 latest cases was in quarantine for their entire infectious period and at least 11 were in the community for some of the time.
There are 12 people in hospital, including two in intensive care requiring ventilation.