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Senior citizens in rest homes are most at risk from Covid-19 and the Government needs to support them by ensuring mandatory testing for all new rest home residents, National’s Seniors spokesperson Tim Macindoe says.

“The Aged Care Association asked the Ministry of Health (MOH) close to two weeks ago for access to testing kits to ensure all new residents could be tested.

“Their request fell on deaf ears and rest homes are currently trying to obtain testing kits through their own means as a result.

“Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced a review of aged care facilities earlier this week. This is welcomed but rest homes shouldn’t be made to wait for these recommendations when the Government could be providing test kits now.

“The Government has claimed there is no shortage of testing kits.

“With testing currently well under the 40,000 capacity, there is no good reason for 700 kits a week not to be spared for rest homes.

“Providing this testing will not only lessen the chances of the virus spreading but also provide valuable confidence and assurance to residents and their family members.

“In times like this it is vital we work together to provide support for our most vulnerable citizens. The Government should help our senior citizens by providing access to testing.”

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