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Australians take desperate measure to cut the line at Covid PCR testing clinics

Australians forced to wait in line for hours at Covid testing clinics as infection rates spiral to new record highs are taking desperate measures to cut the queue, including sleeping in their cars and lining up from 3am.

The nation recorded 18,000 new cases on Wednesday due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant which has put immense pressure on testing clinics, already exhausted healthcare workers and the laboratories which process the results.

Many clinics have been forced to turn people away by the thousands as early as 9am, as banks of cars at drive-thru clinics queue for kilometres.

But some sneaky Australians looking to get a swab have come up with ways to beat the massive influx of people, by parking their car at the facility the night before, going home on public transport and then returning in the morning to take their place at the front of the line.

 Many clinics have been forced to turn people away by the thousands as early as 9am, as banks of cars at drive-thru clinics queue kilometres. Pictured: A Covid testing clinic in Melbourne 

Australians forced to wait in line for hours at Covid testing clinics as infection rates spiral to new record highs are taking desperate measures to cut the queue, like sleeping in their cars. Pictured: A Covid testing clinic in Wyndham Vale, Melbourne

Australians forced to wait in line for hours at Covid testing clinics as infection rates spiral to new record highs are taking desperate measures to cut the queue, like sleeping in their cars. Pictured: A Covid testing clinic in Wyndham Vale, Melbourne

WHEN SHOULD YOU GET A PCR TEST FOR COVID? 

With immense pressure on Australia’s healthcare system from record Covid cases, testing clinics are overwhelmed along with the labs that process the results.

Health authorities have urged that only the follow groups get a PCR test. 

*Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms like a sore throat 

*Anyone who has been deemed a close contact 

*Anyone who has received a positive rapid-antigen test

*Anyone who has been in a superspreader venue which health authorities have advised there is a high-risk of transmission

Others are even sleeping in their cars the night before just to avoid the hours-long wait to get a PCR test.

A mother on social media revealed how her and her children got around the lengthy waiting period by enlisting the help of their devoted dad. 

‘My husband got in the Mona Vale hospital line just after 5am this morning. The kids and I joined him at 8am, we were tested at 9.30am,’ she said. 

‘The line of cars was back to the skate park on Sydney’s Pittwater Road when we left and the rat park line was back to Mona Vale hospital.’ 

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese blasted the prime minister during his trip to South Australia today, for not securing more rapid-antigen test kits as clinics get overrun.

‘We know there are queues here in Adelaide of up to eight to ten hours in order to get tested,’ the Labor leader said. 

‘In some parts of Australia like the Central Coast and Newcastle, you can’t get tested for love or money. It is just not possible. 

‘It is easier to get a ticket to the AFL grand final than get a test in some parts of Australia.

‘We had the New South Wales government trying to purchase this rapid antigen test, which will be available at the end of January – when we have a crisis right now.’

The nation recorded 18,000 new cases on Wednesday due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant which has put immense pressure on testing clinics, already exhausted healthcare workers and the laboratories that process the results. Pictured: A healthcare worker at a Covid testing clinic in Melbourne

The nation recorded 18,000 new cases on Wednesday due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant which has put immense pressure on testing clinics, already exhausted healthcare workers and the laboratories that process the results. Pictured: A healthcare worker at a Covid testing clinic in Melbourne

Some sneaky Australians looking to get a swab have come up with ways to beat the massive influx of people, by parking their car at the facility the night before, going home on public transport and then returning in the morning to take their place at the front of the line. Pictured: A Covid testing clinic in Sydney

Some sneaky Australians looking to get a swab have come up with ways to beat the massive influx of people, by parking their car at the facility the night before, going home on public transport and then returning in the morning to take their place at the front of the line. Pictured: A Covid testing clinic in Sydney

A fired up Mr Albanese said Australians are trying to do the right thing by getting tested but Scott Morrison and his government have ‘once again shown a lack of leadership’.

‘There is no issue too big for Scott Morrison to show house more his vision for this country is? Scott Morrison refuses to step up,’ he said.

‘We have businesses that are unable to open. We have people that are waiting day after day after day to get the results of the tests and we have some people who simply can’t get tested so they are just staying isolated because there is some doubt over their health concerns.’

To address the myriad issues facing Australia’s Covid testing system, Mr Morrison is set to change the rules around close and casual contacts to stop the country grinding to a halt in the current Omicron crisis.

Under the new proposals to go before a national cabinet meeting tomorrow only household members will count as close contacts. 

The PM warned the country needed to change gears in its response to the fast-moving Omicron variant as numbers spiral across the country. 

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese (pictured on Christmas day helping a church charity) blasted the prime minister for a 'lack of leadership'

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese (pictured on Christmas day helping a church charity) blasted the prime minister for a ‘lack of leadership’

Scott Morrison has called an early National Cabinet meeting to discuss testing queues and isolation requirements

Scott Morrison has called an early National Cabinet meeting to discuss testing queues and isolation requirements

‘We just can’t have everybody just being taken out of circulation because they just happen to be at a particular place at a particular time,’ he said.

‘The uncertainty of that the impacts on the economy and given we are not seeing this impact our hospital system, it’s an impractical way to live with the virus.’

Under the new definition, if someone in your family tests positive, or with whom you have spent four hours or more at a home or in a care facility, then you would be a close contact and need to isolate. 

‘[But] if I went down to a restaurant to pop in to get some takeaway and there was a case there, I would not be a close contact,’ explained Mr Morrison.

‘I would not then have to isolate.’

Some people have even been sleeping in their cars the night before just to avoid the hours-long wait to get a PCR test. Pictured: A Covid testing clinic in North Ryde, Sydney

Some people have even been sleeping in their cars the night before just to avoid the hours-long wait to get a PCR test. Pictured: A Covid testing clinic in North Ryde, Sydney

Health workers are seen as members of the public queue in their cars at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site at IPC Health Wyndham Vale, in Melbourne

Health workers are seen as members of the public queue in their cars at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site at IPC Health Wyndham Vale, in Melbourne

The move comes as the early National Cabinet meeting aims to implement uniform guidelines across the states, but also allow those state which are less affected to carry on without unnecessary restrictions.

‘It’s important that we continue to adjust and get as consistent an approach as we possibly can across all the states and territories,’ he said. 

‘But the other thing we’ve learned right across the pandemic is all states are at different stages. There are different phases.’   

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