Stocks of coronavirus test kits have run out in parts of Australia — and supplies elsewhere are running low, the government’s chief medical officer has warned.
Dr. Brendan Murphy addressed fellow healthcare professionals in an open letter, posted to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ website.
“Unfortunately, the extreme pressure on our personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks continues, and the situation regarding pathology test kits, reagents and swabs is deteriorating rapidly, with kits no longer being available in some regions of the country,” he wrote.
“Pathology collection centres have also experienced large backlogs in testing appointments in some parts of Australia, and emergency testing facilities have had to be established in some areas to ensure that urgent patients can get access to testing.”
To address the issue, he urged medical staff to only refer patients for a coronavirus pathology test if they meet the following criteria:
- Traveled internationally in the 14 days before illness onset, OR close or casual contact with a confirmed case in the 14 days before illness onset.
- Have symptoms of fever OR acute respiratory infection (shortness of breath, cough, sore throat) with or without fever.
Australia is bracing for a wave of infections. The country has 189 cases, according to the World Health Organization, and the number will likely keep rising.
Health officials in the state of Queensland say they are preparing for the possibility that up to 25% of the its population may be infected in the next six months. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Queensland’s population is 5 million — meaning officials are preparing to deal with 1.25 million infections.
Across the border in New South Wales, officials say they expect 20% of the state’s population — about 1.6 million people — will be infected.
Source: CNN News