No sign of demand easing off for PCR, rapid antigen tests

There is little sign of demand for PCR testing easing off today, with long queues forming well before the sites open. At one site in Melbourne's Albert Park, the daily testing capacity was reached every single day before opening for the past two weeks. Drivers queuing up at the site have been asked to flash their hazard lights if they have already tested positive using a rapid antigen test. LIVE UPDATES: Testing sites full before opening At a testing site in Sydney's Maroubra, queues stretched back three kilometres by 8am this morning. The first car arrived at 1am this morning to be front of the queue. Compounding the situation is a couple of clinics on Sydney's Northern Beaches having to close because of staff infections. And getting a rapid antigen test is near impossible now, with demand incredibly high. Rapid antigen tests have been stripped off shelves at pharmacies. READ MORE: How to tell if you have a cold, flu or COVID-19 Chair for the Coalition of Epidemic Prepa..

There is little sign of demand for PCR testing easing off today, with long queues forming well before the sites open.

At one site in Melbourne's Albert Park, the daily testing capacity was reached every single day before opening for the past two weeks.

Drivers queuing up at the site have been asked to flash their hazard lights if they have already tested positive using a rapid antigen test.

LIVE UPDATES: Testing sites full before opening

The queue for COVID-19 testing stretches as far as the eye can see in Liverpool in Sydney.

At a testing site in Sydney's Maroubra, queues stretched back three kilometres by 8am this morning.

The first car arrived at 1am this morning to be front of the queue.

Compounding the situation is a couple of clinics on Sydney's Northern Beaches having to close because of staff infections.

And getting a rapid antigen test is near impossible now, with demand incredibly high.

Rapid antigen tests have been stripped off shelves at pharmacies.

READ MORE: How to tell if you have a cold, flu or COVID-19

While authorities are directing people to get rapid antigen tests, in most places they are sold out.

Chair for the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Jane Halton told Today PCR testing shouldn't be used for people wishing to travel.

"We should keep those tests for the people who need them the people who are genuine close contacts, the people who have serious symptoms and we should basically be using things like rapid antigen tests for everything else," she said.

"Let's use those resources sparingly and sensibly and not tie up people for literally hours and hours and hours in lines when they shouldn't be there."

Professor Halton said rapid antigen tests needed to be used sparingly and appropriately.

READ MORE: Grim message for Queensland residents as temporary morgue set up

Many COVID-19 testing sites are turning people around before opening.

"They shouldn't be used every second day," she said.

"We don't want to see people hoarding rapid antigen tests like toilet paper.

"Hopefully by the end of 2022 the worst of this will be over."

Professor Halton said Omicron tends to double its case numbers every two or three days.

"What we're doing now is talking about how we slow this down, not how we stop it," she said.

"We want our hospital systems to be able to deliver the care that people need if, sadly, they get sick.

"Always reminding ourselves the people we're seeing in intensive care – the majority have not been vaccinated and certainly have not had their booster."

READ MORE: Warning one in 10 people in NSW could contract Omicron

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