Australia The Loop: Free rapid antigen tests ruled out, Evergrande saga takes a new twist and dirty socks and cheese could explain why mosquitoes love you

08:50  03 january  2022
08:50  03 january  2022 Source:   abc.net.au

Discussions ramp up over rapid test role

  Discussions ramp up over rapid test role Pressure is mounting for rapid antigen tests to play a bigger role around the country as lines and waiting times blow out at testing facilities Australia-wide.Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is reviewing the state's quarantine and testing policies, with a decision on whether rapid antigen tests can replace some PCR requirements expected within the next day or so.

G'day, g'day.

It's Monday, January 3 and you're reading The Loop, a quick wrap-up of the news you need to know about.

One thing you should know

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is continuing to resist pressure to make free rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 widely available.

The federal government has agreed to fund half the costs of rapid tests which have been purchased by the states to be handed out for free to people identified as close contacts.

But the Prime Minister has said anyone else who wants a test will have to buy their own, even though that can be difficult, with many chemists and other outlets running out of supplies.

What happens if I test positive to a rapid antigen test on day six?

  What happens if I test positive to a rapid antigen test on day six? The rules have changed for close contacts of COVID-19 cases, as the Omicron variant spreads like a bushfire across Australia. Close contacts of confirmed cases are required to self-isolate for seven days starting from the testing date of the positive PCR test.READ MORE: Big spike in Victoria COVID-19 cases © Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images A close contact who is asymptomatic must have a rapid antigen test. If they start to develop symptoms, they are required to get a PCR test themselves. If not, they are required to take a rapid antigen test on day six.

"We're now at a stage of the pandemic where you can't just make everything free, because when someone tells you they want to make something free, someone's always going to pay for it and it will be you," Mr Morrison said.

What else is going on

Let's get you up to speed:

  • Troubled Chinese property giant Evergrande's shares have been suspended from trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange
  • Hong Kong online news site Citizen News says it will cease operations in light of deteriorating press freedoms, days after police raided and arrested seven people for sedition at a separate pro-democracy news outlet
  • Coastal regions from K'gari (Fraser Island) to northern New South Wales have copped heavy surf and dangerous winds as ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth continues to sit off the Queensland coast
  • Twitter has banned the personal account of outspoken Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene for tweets that repeatedly violated its COVID-19 misinformation policy

News alerts you might have missed

  • NFL player Antonio Brown has been cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after throwing his jersey into the crowd mid-game and walking off the field
  • Elderly Queenslanders who haven't had a COVID booster jab have been told to avoid gatherings, with the CHO saying "all of us" will be exposed

Not signed up for ABC News alerts and want updates like these in real-time? Head to the ABC News app homepage ➡️ Settings ➡️ Notifications and tailor your alerts to what you want to know.

PM warns rapid tests won't be free for all as daily COVID-19 cases top 34,000

  PM warns rapid tests won't be free for all as daily COVID-19 cases top 34,000 Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says it is "common sense" to limit supplies of free rapid antigen tests. Video: Warning from top NSW doctor as COVID-19 hospital admissions grow (Today) Your browser does not support this video "If they were an unconstrained flow of completely unpriced products, so as there was an infinite supply to an infinite number of people, then of course, that demand couldn't be met," he said. "If there were no constraints on that, then people would go down and take crates and boxes away.

What Australia has been searching for online

  • Vaishno Devi: At least 12 pilgrims died and more than a dozen were injured in a stampede at the Hindu shrine in Kashmir on Saturday (local time)
  • Kodak Black: The US rapper has been arrested on a trespassing charge in south Florida

One more thing

Did you know dirty socks and cheese could help explain why mosquitoes love you so much?

Okay, so maybe it's not quite that simple — but mosquitoes are attracted to volatile chemicals we breathe out, or that are produced by bacteria acting on substances produced on the skin, including sweat.

  • Even before they get up close to your skin, mosquitoes will be attracted by the carbon dioxide you breathe out — something they can detect at least 10 metres away
  • Your body heat also helps mosquitoes to zoom in on you
  • Your skin's tendency to react to any bites you get may also explain why some people blithely enjoy that outside party, while you don't

Read the full story (if you want, I'm not going to tell you how to live your life).

You're up to date!

We'll be back tomorrow morning with the news while you snoozed.

Australia no longer has a credible way of calculating how many people have COVID-19 .
The use of rapid antigen tests is now the preferred strategy - a move that takes pressure off the PCR public testing sites - but authorities are only just starting to put in place mandatory reporting systems for positive RAT results. Mandatory online and phone reporting of positive RAT results came into force in Victoria on Friday, with 24,928 reported on the first day (20,505 of which were from tests taken earlier in the week). New South Wales has said it will require people with positive RAT tests to report their results from this week. All this seems a bit ad hoc, like policy patched together on the run.

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This is interesting!