Are they handing out rapid antigen tests to returning international passengers?

Leeanda

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Got my son returning from LA in a few days. He needs to have a RAT in the first 24 hours, but we can’t purchase the tests anywhere (we are in Far South Coast, NSW). Anyone know if the tests are being handed out to returning international passengers? Would make sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s happening! Cheers, Leeanda
 

AIRwin

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Not from what I've heard after a Qatar Airways flight to SYD last night...
 

AIRwin

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Ironically they were being given out in DRW upon arrival of QF9 from MEL and I asked for one even though I was connecting to another domestic flight...
 

dajop

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Got my son returning from LA in a few days. He needs to have a RAT in the first 24 hours, but we can’t purchase the tests anywhere (we are in Far South Coast, NSW). Anyone know if the tests are being handed out to returning international passengers? Would make sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s happening! Cheers, Leeanda


It's really now a ridiculous requirement anyway. Why does someone hopping off a plane need a RAT anymore than anyone else in the community?

There are 31 flights arriving into SYD today, assume each plane has a capacity of 300 pax, and flights are operating at 80% load factor and 1/3 of pax actually had COVID (remember there still is predeparture testing that will weed out some cases) ... that's 2480 extra cases. Or <10% of the new cases currently being detected from local transmission.
 

mviy

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@Pushka, that is correct. I got handed a free packet of 5 tests on New Year's Day in MEL upon arrival on QF10 (the tests were handed out after collecting my bag as I went through customs). A friend arrived in MEL last night flying Emirates. I'll find out if that friend got tests and I have more friends coming back at the end of next week.

The VIC government has ordered 34 million RAT tests, I think, so I wouldn't be that surprised if the RAT tests were handed out indefinitely (or at least until there's plentiful supply available for purchase in stores) in MEL to international arrivals with RAT tests now an option to take some of the burden off PCR testing sites.

I got a text message and an email today reminding me to take the day 1 test (if I hadn't already, which I had already done) and informing me to take another test between day 5 and 7. Only if a RAT comes back positive is a PCR test required. Provided the day 1 test is negative one only needs to isolate at home until getting that result.

With the tests typically the line to show the test is valid (and hopefully a negative result) should come through pretty quickly, but with the test I got the instructions advised to read the result after 15 minutes and before 30 minutes is up. The line to indicate a positive test can take a while, I presume to show up.
 

madrooster

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SYD no, but MEL yes although I believe it was/is a temporary thing due to many swab sites being closed over the festive period.
 

Leeanda

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@Pushka, that is correct. I got handed a free packet of 5 tests on New Year's Day in MEL upon arrival on QF10 (the tests were handed out after collecting my bag as I went through customs). A friend arrived in MEL last night flying Emirates. I'll find out if that friend got tests and I have more friends coming back at the end of next week.

The VIC government has ordered 34 million RAT tests, I think, so I wouldn't be that surprised if the RAT tests were handed out indefinitely (or at least until there's plentiful supply available for purchase in stores) in MEL to international arrivals with RAT tests now an option to take some of the burden off PCR testing sites.

I got a text message and an email today reminding me to take the day 1 test (if I hadn't already, which I had already done) and informing me to take another test between day 5 and 7. Only if a RAT comes back positive is a PCR test required. Provided the day 1 test is negative one only needs to isolate at home until getting that result.

With the tests typically the line to show the test is valid (and hopefully a negative result) should come through pretty quickly, but with the test I got the instructions advised to read the result after 15 minutes and before 30 minutes is up. The line to indicate a positive test can take a while, I presume to show up.
Thanks, that's really helpful. Hopefully they're still handing them out on Fri morning when my son flys in.
 

mviy

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SYD no, but MEL yes although I believe it was/is a temporary thing due to many swab sites being closed over the festive period.
The testing sites were getting overwhelmed and with the high positive rates for tests it's taking longer to get results.

Previously with a low positive rate they could check to see if all of a batch of PCR tests was negative and only check the tests individually if at least one from the batch was positive. With the high positive rate that wouldn't save time, and they have to examine each one individually.

The VIC government wants International arrivals to do RAT at home not got to PCR test sites. If passengers aren't given RAT test kits at the airport and can't easily get RAT tests at chemists/supermarkets then they will go for PCR testing, so I think despite what they had planned a week or two ago they could be handing out free RAT tests to international arrivals for a little bit yet.

With hot temperatures it can be a good idea to store RAT kits in the fridge at home. If they get too hot they can become useless (definitely don't store them in the car). Check the packet to see what the safe temperatures are for storing the kit.

Once RAT kits are readily available if you plan to travel buy a kit before you leave and put it in the fridge so you have tests available for when you return.
 

mviy

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I guess I was wrong. My friend who arrived in MEL last night on Emirates wasn’t handed a kit.

So if you are coming home bring some tests with you if you can or try and get a friend back here in Australia to secure you some.
 

andye

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@Pushka, that is correct. I got handed a free packet of 5 tests on New Year's Day in MEL upon arrival on QF10 (the tests were handed out after collecting my bag as I went through customs). A friend arrived in MEL last night flying Emirates. I'll find out if that friend got tests and I have more friends coming back at the end of next week.

The VIC government has ordered 34 million RAT tests, I think, so I wouldn't be that surprised if the RAT tests were handed out indefinitely (or at least until there's plentiful supply available for purchase in stores) in MEL to international arrivals with RAT tests now an option to take some of the burden off PCR testing sites.

I got a text message and an email today reminding me to take the day 1 test (if I hadn't already, which I had already done) and informing me to take another test between day 5 and 7. Only if a RAT comes back positive is a PCR test required. Provided the day 1 test is negative one only needs to isolate at home until getting that result.

With the tests typically the line to show the test is valid (and hopefully a negative result) should come through pretty quickly, but with the test I got the instructions advised to read the result after 15 minutes and before 30 minutes is up. The line to indicate a positive test can take a while, I presume to show up.
They tend to show up positive within 5 minutes but you should check at 15
 

Leeanda

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I guess I was wrong. My friend who arrived in MEL last night on Emirates wasn’t handed a kit.

So if you are coming home bring some tests with you if you can or try and get a friend back here in Australia to secure you some.
Ok, thanks for tip
 

Pushka

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I guess I was wrong. My friend who arrived in MEL last night on Emirates wasn’t handed a kit.

So if you are coming home bring some tests with you if you can or try and get a friend back here in Australia to secure you some.
Son in UK finally sourced some yesterday after I told him they were scarce here.
 

mviy

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They are free in the UK, I think. My friend brought tests from there which my friend will need to use considering that my friend wasn’t provided any at the airport on arrival.
 

Pushka

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They are free in the UK, I think. My friend brought tests from there which my friend will need to use considering that my friend wasn’t provided any at the airport on arrival.
Not sure if they paid. I know that families get free ones because kids are tested regularly. They were hard to get apparently.
 

mviy

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Not sure if SYD ever handed them out for free. I was fortunate to get handed some at the airport when I arrived in MEL on New Year‘s Day.

I have managed to get some more at the shops but only one packet of 2 tests at a time which doesn’t go very far.
 

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