Scott Morrison defends nationwide shortage of rapid antigen tests amid Omicron chaos

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Scott Morrison fires back at claims he was unprepared for huge demand for rapid antigen tests

The prime minister rejected the assertion the country was left underprepared for worst case scenarios despite extensive modelling on various possibilities by the health department.

‘I don’t accept the suggestion that they haven’t been doing their job. I think they’ve been doing their job extremely well and under extraordinary pressure in a very uncertain environment,’ he told reporters on Thursday.

But criticism continues over the availability and affordability of RATs after changes to Australia’s testing regime were announced after Wednesday’s national cabinet.

PM Scott Morrison (pictured) has defended the government's supply of Covid-19 rapid antigen tests, saying the whole world has been scrapping for test supplies

People who test positive on a RAT don’t have to get their results confirmed with a PCR test in the hopes of easing pressure on overwhelmed clinics.

But University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely warned surveillance would not be accurate going forward with the tests mainly being done at home.

The prime minister rejected the assertion the country was left underprepared for worst case scenarios despite extensive modelling (pictured, a woman is swabbed in Sydney)

‘The horse has bolted, this is the biggest policy failure so far in Australia,’ he told the Seven Network on Thursday.

‘We also haven’t thought about how you can load up that data to the surveillance system, so we won’t get that in place in the next couple of weeks.’

But Mr Morrison said it was more important to connect people with care than reporting numbers.

Mr Morrison noted national cabinet is working through how to more accurately record case numbers so hospitals were able to prepare (pictured, staff at Sydney's St Vincent's hospital)

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