Saliva testing welcome but long overdue

The Government’s move to introduce saliva testing as additional surveillance testing technology is welcome but long overdue, National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“The Roche/Simpson report recommended the urgent rollout of saliva testing a year ago but the Government has been inexplicably slow to make use of it.

“The Government belatedly approved its use midway through this year for MIQ workers but only a few hundred tests have been completed.

“Today’s move to introduce saliva testing as an additional testing technique for essential workers crossing the Auckland boundary is welcome but should have been underway a long time ago.

“It is ridiculous that in this current outbreak people have had to line up for 10-12 hours to get a nasal PCR test. It will have meant some people would’ve have simply given up or not even bothered to go and get a test. This is precisely the opposite of what we want to happen.

“With Delta the aim should be to test as many people as possible as quickly as possible. This means making use of private sector saliva testing providers like Rako, as well as rapid antigen tests

“Incredibly, rapid antigen tests are banned in New Zealand despite being widely used and deployed overseas.

“Yet again the Government has been caught out with minimal planning for a Delta outbreak. A smart Government would have moved to introduce saliva testing and rapid antigen testing far sooner than now.”