Cross Border Call Out to campaign to end weekly COVID-19 testing

BORDER BATTLE: SA premier Steven Marshall, Cross Border Call Out creator Paula Gust and Member for MacKillop Nick McBride during a meeting a couple of months ago.
BORDER BATTLE: SA premier Steven Marshall, Cross Border Call Out creator Paula Gust and Member for MacKillop Nick McBride during a meeting a couple of months ago.

Cross Border Call Out has respectfully requested an end to weekly COVID-19 testing requirements for cross border community members.

SA Police confirmed last week that the cross border travel bubble would return to 70km, after it was reduced to 40km due to a woman testing positive to COVID-19 in Mount Gambier.

Cross border residents need to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result within seven days before their arrival, or will need to undertake a test within 48 hours of entering SA.

The online campaign to stop weekly testing is looking to grab the attention of many officials, including; SA premier Steven Marshall and chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier.

"Weekly testing of healthy individuals is a waste of resources, time, and the physical and mental health impact is extremely concerning," Cross Border Call Out stated.

"Weekly testing is not effective at stemming the spread of COVID, considering the delta variant grows so rapidly and results in faster transmission.

"The timeframe to detect an individual's positive before they reach peak infectiousness is shorter.

"As delta replicates rapidly, asymptomatic people who have no detectable virus Monday morning can be highly infectious by night, long before their test results are received anywhere from 1-4 days later."

The page argued that the high vaccination rates within the West Wimmera Shire, Glenelg Shire and the Rural City of Mildura should provide enough assurance to stop weekly testing.

Data from October 11 reveals that the West Wimmera (91.3 per cent), Glenelg (92.3 per cent), and Mildura (90.3 per cent) all have high first dose vaccination rates.

Second dose rates are climbing fast as well, with the West Wimmera (67.3 per cent), Glenelg (66.5 per cent), and Mildura (54.6 per cent) all boasting high percentages.

Despite being heavily focused on removing weekly testing, Cross Border Call Out has also requested that the method changes to rapid saliva testing, only if the weekly testing requirement remains.

"The test is aportable, meaning it could be done in any setting where testing is required," the page explained.

"The screening would be more effective, as the results would be ready within five minutes (as opposed to 1-4 days, where the traveller had already been in the community).

"Continual testing is causing adverse effects, including epistaxis (nose bleeds), inflammation, nasal discomfort, headache, earache, and rhinorrhea, which can last from hours to a day, as a consequence of nasal swabbing."

While the current restrictions placed on cross border community members living on the VIC/SA border are designed to prevent the spread of the virus, however, the page is asking for evidence.

"Premier Marshall, you mentioned a 'selective, methodical, evidence-based easing of the restrictions that are currently in place in South Australia'. Where is this evidence?,":the page asked.

"Apparently, the Transition Committee has been tasked with prioritising the easing restrictions with a low public health risk and high social and economic value.

"You have taken this approach with the rest of the state, but not the VIC/SA border."

SA premier Steven Marshall has been contacted for comment.

This story Cross Border Call Out to campaign to end weekly COVID-19 testing first appeared on Border Chronicle.