SARTA rebuffs ‘unfettered’ client rapid testing regimes

Onerous demands and testing accuracy concerns cited by peak body

SARTA rebuffs ‘unfettered’ client rapid testing regimes
SARTA baulked at Woolworths' rapid testing requests in SA


The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) has given short shrift to client rapid antigen testing regimes on truck drivers in the state.

While road transport bodies have seen rapid antigen testing as a solution to ease some Covid-19 bottlenecks around regular testing and border measures, SARTA is concerned about burdensome requirements enforced by clients and the potential for increased false positives due to the system’s perceived reduced accuracy.

SARTA’s action was recently spurred by Woolworths’ attempt to introduce rapid antigen tests on truck drivers in South Australia.

It challenged the supermarket’s recent advice to industry that it will start the policy in SA on October 13.

The association noted it wrote to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) of SAHealth and the Head of PathologySA on the matter.

"This will be a major and unacceptable problem. We can't have truck drivers being required to be tested willie nilly (sic) by clients left right and centre," the letter stated.

"That could rapidly see the poor drivers being required to have multiple tests a week or even a day.

"Worse, we have already experienced serious problems in Victoria arising from false positives from clients’, including Woolworths, Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) of truck drivers that saw drivers banned and trucks locked down requiring immediate full covid clean and costing the operator substantially including the lost opportunity costs from the downtime.

"The clients, like Woolworths couldn't care less about those unjustified costs, which will mount up rapidly .... and all for no benefit.

"This will see the truck operators suing Woollies and others.

"In short, we don't support unfettered RAT testing by clients.

"Very few truck drivers visit just one client’s premises.

"We need to discuss the serious counter-productive consequences of allowing unfettered private RAT testing."

SA's move on mandatory truck driver vaccinations, here

The DCMO responded to SARTA that Woolworths’ proposal did not have its approval.

"No exemptions to the Direction in regards to RAT will be given in the imminent future.

"Woolworths put forth a proposal to us, which was discussed, but no assurances have been made to them.

"I have written to them today advising that the decision of the CPHO is that RAT testing will not be approved with the current COVID prevalence in SA, and as such their proposal is declined."


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