Fairfield residents stuck in their cars for hours awaiting new mandatory COVID-19 tests
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet apologized to residents of Fairfield who are being forced to queue for several miles for new mandatory COVID-19 tests.
- Brad Hazzard reminded residents of Fairfield they have until Saturday to take their first test
- Local MP Guy Zangari says more 24-hour testing clinics needed in region
- New rules mean Fairfield residents who work outside the area must get tested every three days
From midnight, a new directive went into effect that requires all essential workers who must leave the local government area of Fairfield, in southwest Sydney, to be tested every three days and provide proof. of their negative result.
Overnight, hundreds of people waited six to eight hours to get tested, with huge queues barely moving in the early hours of the morning.
There was widespread frustration among residents, with reports that some people had difficulty entering their homes due to traffic jams blocking many streets.
But Health Minister Brad Hazzard said people did not need to rush and get tested today, saying they had until Saturday to get their first swab.
“There is no rush,” he said.
“The new rules have three days to go into effect.
“I signed formal exemptions yesterday to give traders and other essential workers three more days to take their first test.”
Mr Hazzard said rescuers would only need a weekly test.
“[So] they have a whole week ahead [the rule] kicked in. “
However, Mr. Perrottet went further, apologizing to the residents of Fairfield for the chaos.
“May I just, on behalf of the government, apologize to everyone in Fairfield for this significant inconvenience,” he said on 2GB.
“But also thanking them, because it’s the sacrifice they make… that protects people.”
Nathan Labban, who works as a traffic controller at a test facility in Fairfield, said traffic was blocked in all directions this morning.
“It has been going on and on,” he said.
“Obviously, after hours of waiting in a queue, there’s going to be a bit of frustration.
“We’re just trying to get through it as fast as possible… people are probably going to be late for work.”
Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone said residents wanted to do their part, but testing resources were seriously lacking.
“These are the same people who go to work every day and work very hard,” he said.
“They can’t afford to spend six to eight hours in a line to get tested.”
A new 24-hour clinic, the first of its kind in New South Wales, has already been set up in the Endeavor Sports Park car park.
But Fairfield MP Guy Zangari said more testing sites were urgently needed.
“The resources that are here are not enough,” he said.
“The government cannot expect people to do the right thing and show up, only to be turned away.”
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