Australian govt announces additional Covid funding

Australia’s Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler on Monday announced that the government will spend an additional A$1.4 billion ($941 million) over the next three months on preventing the spread of Covid-19 in aged and disability care and hospitals.

Federal funding for coronavirus testing and protocols was due to end on September 30, but Butler said the extension would ensure vulnerable Australians remain protected, reports Xinhua news agency.

“This action will provide Australians with effective testing, medical care and treatments to protect themselves and those most vulnerable in the community,” he said.

“These investments also provide ongoing support and protection for our frontline health and aged care workers, and people living in residential aged care homes, as well as those people supporting the most vulnerable to severe illness from Covid-19.”

According to the Department of Health, average Covid-19 cases in the country were still more than 7,000 each day.

The majority of the additional funding — A$840 million — will go towards the Aged Care Support Program, including A$35 million on onsite polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing at aged care facilities.

A further A$235 million will boost the National Medical Stockpile to guarantee supply of personal protection equipment (PPE) and testing equipment for aged care, primary care, disability care and First Nations health services and frontline healthcare workers.

More than A$100 million will be spent on rapid antigen tests (RATs) for workers and care recipients over the next three months.

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