Federal government extends COVID-19 response measures

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Health minister Mark Butler has announced the federal government will invest another $1.4 billion to extend COVID-19 response measures.

The measures were due to expire at the end  of September but have been extended until 31 December 2022.

The measures include $840 million for the Aged Care Support Program, with $35 million for ongoing on‑site PCR testing in aged care settings, and over $115 million for the supply of rapid antigen tests to service providers and care recipients in high-risk settings including residential aged care facilities.

Mr Butler said the measures also include $142 million in Medicare items and rebates from 1 October 2022 for testing SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses, $48 million to extend around 100 GP-led respiratory clinics, and over $235 million to add supplies to the National Medical Stockpile.

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

“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.”