Australians forced to endure lines for Covid-19 tests may soon be able to do DIY PCR swabs at home as the country is battered by another wave of the pandemic. 

More than 70,000 new infections and 89 deaths were reported nationwide over the weekend with experts warning virus case numbers and deaths are spiking due to the spread of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. 

Queensland-based company Elamaan Health recently won regulator approval for a PCR home test-kid the company is calling a ‘game-changer’ in detecting the virus.

A new Covid self-test as accurate as a PCR test will soon be available for Australians as cases begin to rise amid a third wave in the pandemic (pictured, woman in line for a PCR test on January 10)

A new Covid self-test as accurate as a PCR test will soon be available for Australians as cases begin to rise amid a third wave in the pandemic (pictured, woman in line for a PCR test on January 10)

A new Covid self-test as accurate as a PCR test will soon be available for Australians as cases begin to rise amid a third wave in the pandemic (pictured, woman in line for a PCR test on January 10)

The EasyNAT Covid-19 RNA (RiboNucleic Acid) test is described as highly sensitive and can detect all known variants of the Covid-19 virus.

Elamann Health claims its test is as accurate as a laboratory PCR test and can provide results within 55 minutes. 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration signed off on the easyNAT test on June 17.

So far, the test has only been sold to authorities, and neither the TGA or Elamaan Health have specified when the tests may be available to the general public. 

Rapid antigen tests currently sold in Australian stores can only determine an active virus in a person’s body.

RATs are unable to detect small amounts of the virus or asymptomatic cases as accurately as a PCR swab.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved a RNA self-test kit by Elamaan Health (pictured) which claims to be quicker and as accurate as a laboratory PCR test

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved a RNA self-test kit by Elamaan Health (pictured) which claims to be quicker and as accurate as a laboratory PCR test

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved a RNA self-test kit by Elamaan Health (pictured) which claims to be quicker and as accurate as a laboratory PCR test

‘This is a highly accurate rapid PCR test available for home use,’ said Professor Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist.

‘At the moment, it will only be sold to authorities, but will eventually be made available to the general public. ‘

Given the recent surge in BA.4 and BA.5 cases, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) warned on Friday revised its official advice on reinfection periods from 12 weeks to 28 days. 

‘BA.4 and BA.5 are associated with increased immune escape and we are likely to see rates of reinfection rise among those who have previously been infected with an earlier Covid-19 variant and those who are up to date with their vaccinations,’ the committee said. 

The spike in cases has led to calls for the reintroduction of indoor mask mandates.

However, authorities in NSW and Queensland said mask mandates were unlikely to be reinstated in a widespread manner.

New South Wales state authorities have refrained from reintroducing mask mandates despite the state recording 7,586 new cases in the last 24-hours with a total of with a total of 137,260 active cases in the state (pictured, Sydneysiders walking along Bondi Beach)

New South Wales state authorities have refrained from reintroducing mask mandates despite the state recording 7,586 new cases in the last 24-hours with a total of with a total of 137,260 active cases in the state (pictured, Sydneysiders walking along Bondi Beach)

New South Wales state authorities have refrained from reintroducing mask mandates despite the state recording 7,586 new cases in the last 24-hours with a total of with a total of 137,260 active cases in the state (pictured, Sydneysiders walking along Bondi Beach)

It comes after Queensland authorities managed a Covid-19 outbreak on a cruise ship in Brisbane on Sunday.

The outbreak among the crew and some passengers on the Coral Princess led to Princess Cruises offering refunds to those booked on its next 12-day cruise.  

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says COVID-19 protocols were in place on the ship before the outbreak.

She said some passengers are isolating at home or in other accommodation, while authorities are helping the company manage infected staff on board.

‘This was always going to happen just like the rest of community,’ Ms D’Ath said.

‘The virus is everywhere and there’s no escaping that, but I do want to acknowledge that the public health units along with the cruise line, are doing all the right things and following the protocols in place.’

Australia’s Covid-19 cases

 ACT

Last reporting period to 1.30pm on Sunday

Deaths: 2

Cases: 945

In hospital: 135 (with 5 people in ICU)

NSW

Latest reporting period 24-hours up to 4pm Monday 

Deaths: 8

Cases: 7,586

In hospital: 2,002 (with 63 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

Latest reporting period 24-hours to 8:30am on Monday 

Deaths: 0

Cases: 323

In hospital: 25 (with 1 people in ICU)

Queensland

Latest reporting period 24-hours to 7pm on Sunday 

Deaths: 0

Cases: 4,804

In hospital: 782 (with 10 people in ICU)

South Australia

Latest reporting period 24-hours to 12pm on Sunday

Deaths: 1

Cases: 3,039

In hospital: 240 (with 9 people in ICU)

Tasmania

Latest reporting period 24-hours to 10am Monday 

Deaths: 0

Cases: 1,439

In hospital: 28 (with 4 people in ICU)

Victoria

Deaths: 0

Cases: 8,689

In hospital: 717 (with 30 people in ICU)

Western Australia 

Last reporting period to 6pm on Saturday 

Deaths: 2 

Cases: 5,014

In hospital: 261 (with 7people in ICU)

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