The Green party is calling for “test to stay” in schools and early childhood education, and free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for all to protect vulnerable communities.
“Hundreds of our schools now have active COVID cases, and with close contacts no longer needing to isolate, there is a huge risk of infection to our vulnerable children and their whānau, especially the under 5s who cannot be vaccinated,” says Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Green spokesperson for COVID-19 response.
“Test to stay has been used overseas to manage infections in schools as an alternative to isolating close contacts, so the Government must urgently introduce this at all schools across Aotearoa.
“At this stage in the pandemic, it’s well known that some people can be infected with COVID but not show symptoms, but RATs are only available for free to those with symptoms - if they are available at all.
“We need to urgently make RATs free to everyone, so that anyone can screen for COVID as we deal with this outbreak to prevent asymptomatic transmission in high-risk locations and to vulnerable people.”
“Whānau are rightfully concerned about sending their children to school. We must do everything we can to ensure our schools are safe at this time.