Australian state to levy heavy fines against people who fail to report positive Covid self-tests

The rules have already faced questions over their enforceability

Stuti Mishra
Wednesday 12 January 2022 12:42
<p>File: A group of people queue up at a Covid testing centre in Melbourne, Australia</p>

File: A group of people queue up at a Covid testing centre in Melbourne, Australia

Australia’s southeastern New South Wales (NSW) state has announced a hefty A$1,000 ($720 or £528) fine for those who get a positive result with a Covid self-test kit but don’t inform the authorities.

Dominic Perrottet, the premiere of NSW, announced the rules on Wednesday morning.

Anyone who tests positive from a rapid antigen test (RAT) will have 24 hours to log the results on the Service NSW app, he said.

The new rule came into effect on Wednesday, the same day when the functionality to register test results went live on the app, reported Sky News Australia.

“This health order has been signed off this morning and in terms of enforcement if someone fails to register a positive rapid antigen test there will be a $1,000 fine and there will be a grace period,” the premier told reporters.

The move comes amid the state government’s push to provide self-testing kits to more people as Omicron cases spread. Free tests are expected to be handed out in schools along with several other measures to promote self-testing.

Customer service minister Victor Dominello, who also spoke at the briefing, said more than 2,900 people had already reported their rapid test results since 9am on Wednesday.

While the government hopes to identify more cases with self-test kits along with RT-PCR tests, the move has also raised questions on its enforceability, as there’s no measure to find out whether a resident has taken the test or received a positive result for the fines to be imposed.

Admitting the problem, Mr Perrottet said he is aware that reporting RAT results would be hard to enforce, but added that he expected everyone in the state to follow the rules.

“There are obviously areas right across the state where there are laws that are harder to enforce than others – this is clearly one that will be harder to enforce, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

Australia has been witnessing a record surge in new Covid cases. On Tuesday, the country reported 84,000 cases.

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