, LATEST: More covid testing clinics after queue fury, Nzuchi Times

LATEST: More covid testing clinics after queue fury

, LATEST: More covid testing clinics after queue fury, Nzuchi Times

A construction union is backing the decision for tradies to have a compulsory Covid-19 test every three days after fury over hundreds of essential workers that were left queuing for up to six hours.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the tough new rules on Tuesday, mandating that anyone leaving the Fairfield LGA for essential work would need to be tested every three days before they were allowed to go to work.

The community rallied on Wednesday, turning out in massive numbers for testing, only to be left waiting, some for several hours, as testing locations struggled to keep up with the massive demand.

The huge delays were lambasted on social media, with commentators pointing out the government should have ensured testing could keep up.

RELATED: Lockdown extended: Sydney restrictions stay

RELATED: Testing queues stretch kilometres with four hour waits

CFMEU NSW Secretary Darren Greenfield meanwhile justified the testing to the ABC.

“We don’t know how long the lockdown is for, we saw another two week extension today and for all we know it could be five or six weeks, it could be another 2 weeks, we don’t know.

“A lot of workers in the industry live week to week, if they were shut down and have no income it would have been horrendous.”

The testing measures do not come into force until Saturday and if you’re showing no symptoms you can get tested at a clinic outside the area, but the Fairfield LGA responded immediately causing testing queues to stretch for kilometres.

Nevertheless, another two 24-hour covid testing clinics have been set up in Fairfield, health authorities announced last night.

People reported up to six-hour waits for a test, while others said that after waiting for two hours, NSW Police arrived and closed down queues and sent them home.

One Twitter user said: “The people of Fairfield responded, did the right thing, as they were asked. And the government let them down.”

People posted videos of the “nightmare” queues for cars with people waiting to get tested, one describing the line of cars into Fairfield Showground testing centre as “madness”.

ABC reporter Kamin Gock, who was on the scene, described what he saw as “absolute mayhem”, describing “queues of vehicles stretching kilometres on suburban streets” and “hundreds of vehicles lined up along hundreds of metres of roads”.

Gock revealed that before the covid outbreak, approximately 45,000 Fairfield residents left the area to work each day, and while that number may be lower now, “that’s still thousands and thousands of tests every three days”.

One Twitter user said their “heart goes out to the people in the Fairfield LGA lining up trying to get a Covid test. What a debacle. @GladysB @BradHazzard If you change the rules, put the systems in place first.”

Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboy sassured residents a traffic plan will be revised to better manage queues at testing centres.

“It was a very challenging situation last night at Fairfield around those testing centres,” the Deputy Police Commissioner said.

“The local superintendent will work with the police operation centre, as was done last night, into the next few days, to arrive at the very best traffic plans,” Mr Worboys said.

“We will continue to do our very best across the state to make everyone safe,” the Deputy Police Commissioner said.

“Our message is that New South Wales police in and around Fairfield and south-west Sydney are there to help people get through this difficult and challenging time.”

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At Ms Berejiklian’s 11am press conference, announcing 97 new Covid cases with 75 per cent in the Fairfield LGA, she thanked the people of Fairfield for responding to the new rules.

She also said the government was working to increase testing capacity to avoid similar testing delays in the future, and encouraged people to go to testing clinics beyond the Fairfield LGA to ease pressure on the system.

“If you are subject to the new health orders which say you are a worker leaving Fairfield but you don’t have symptoms, the recommendation and advice is to go to a clinic closest to your workplace,” MsBerejiklian said.

“We have enormous capacity and we are suggesting that if you don’t have symptoms, and you must leave the Fairfield local government area for work, go to the closest place, or on the way to work, or around the way to get tested, take pressure off, that is just commonsense.

“We have so much capacity across the greater Sydney area, want to share the load as much as possible to make sure people in the health system and particularly in that area are not overstretched and that is a logical way to respond.”

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NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet also apologised to residents, saying the NSW government was looking for solutions.

He stressed the new rules won’t come into effect until Saturday and affected people can get tested at venues outside their local government area.

One Twitter user satirised the situation for the people in cars queued at Fairfield, joking that NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller would be sending in a helicopter to supervise.

“The NSW government introduces a new system to manage Covid-19,” the person tweeted.

“Working from your vehicle is now on trial at Fairfield.

“You can also quarantine in your car. Mick Fuller sending out the Blackhawk chopper to ensure compliance. The surf is up in Bondi.”

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