Critical workers in the food and logistics and manufacturing sectors now have different isolation rules to the rest of NSW, ministers from the State government announced today.
Workers in the food logistics and manufacturing sectors who have been identified as close contacts may leave self-isolation if they have tested negative on a rapid antigen test (RAT) and are asymptomatic.
Workers in agriculture, manufacturing, transport and postal sectors may now leave self-isolation if their absence poses a high risk of disruption to the delivery of this service and they're unable to work from home. These workers must wear a mask and undertake daily RATs. These changes are effective immediately.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said these changes along with a plan for schools to open up on day one, term one, are a part of living alongside COVID.
"We use our Rapid Antigen Tests in a way that supports our workers and continues to have society function alongside the virus. The alternative is to go into lockdown. That is the easy road. The hard road and the right road," he said.
"This is what living alongside the virus means, it is not easy. But it is the right thing to do."
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Also announced today was an extra 50 million RATs, bringing the state reserves to 100 million tests.
The tests are for critical industries such as health care, aged care, people in social housing and Aboriginal healthcare services along with helping school get underway at the end of the month.
Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres, said the global supply of RATs is recalibrating quickly.
"Shortage in supply over next week to two weeks, the NSW government believes it will be easier to get tests from a fortnights time," he said.
Registering a positive RAT result with Service NSW should become available in the coming days. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jeremy McAnulty said once people have a positive RAT they do not need a PCR test.
"If you have a rapid antigen test, you generally don't need to have a follow-up PCR test, so that will make it quicker and faster for people to know their status as well as relieving pressure on the testing system," he said.
"This is now equivalent to a PCR test, if you get a positive result you have to isolate for seven days and inform your family and household contacts."