Feds redirect orders for rapid antigen tests as demand for RAT soars | Canberra time


Private retailers have been told their orders for rapid antigen tests are being delayed and redirected by the federal government as it issues an urgent tender for millions of tests. Five tenders for rapid antigen tests worth just under $62 million were released by the Department of Health on Tuesday. The tenders website says the condition is due to “extreme urgency or unforeseen events”. This follows criticism from pharmacists that the government is not providing additional kits to businesses under the national concession card scheme. The Department of Health said this latest tender was not for additional rapid antigen tests and was instead part of the wider purchase of more than 70 million rapid tests. “Each proposal was independently assessed against consistent criteria before the departmental delegate made the decision to procure the tests,” a spokesperson told NCA NewsWire. READ MORE Shadow finance minister Senator Katy Gallagher has said the contracts are the latest example of the Morrison government’s ‘national plan for living with COVID’ being ‘a complete failure’. “Despite knowing rapid testing was an ‘essential’ part of opening up, as early as September the Morrison government did nothing to secure supplies until there was a national testing crisis COVID and we have empty shelves in pharmacies,” said Sen. Gallagher. . “How Scott Morrison could have waited until this week to order the RAT tests is hard to believe. And it is Australians who are once again paying the price for Scott Morrison’s incompetence.” Businesses in Canberra have expressed frustration with the situation as they experience intense customer demand for rapid antigen tests every day. Health food store owner Gen Sparkle told ABC she received an email this week notifying her that her order for 450 rapid antigen tests would be delayed. Ms Sparkle’s supplier email on Monday said a flight carrying the tests had been cancelled, which was part of the problem, but the Feds had also ‘placed a warrant order and will take supply for their needs on this order arriving this week.” Ms Sparkle told ABC she was “rather disappointed”. “We ordered 450 tests, and we did it because our customers absolutely want them,” Sparkle said. A statement in response from the Department of Health said the government was “not seeking to place itself in front of other commercial and retail entities”. “The Department of Health has procured RAT supplies under Commonwealth procurement rules…it does so through normal commercial channels.” More to come Our reporters work hard to bring local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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