A nationwide shortage of rapid antigen tests has been labelled a “hot mess” as desperate Aussies race to stock up on supplies.

As Australians struggle to get their hands on rapid antigen tests, one MP has described the ongoing situation as a “hot mess”.

With many states changing their testing rules to scale back PCR tests, the at-home tests have become increasingly elusive RAT tests as case numbers continue to soar.

Labor’s Anika Wells described the situation as a “shemozzle”.

“Oh, it’s a hot mess,” the Lilley MP told Nine.

“It’s a repeat of the bungled vaccine rollout and you would have thought that the Morrison government would have learned from that one.”

“Now we‘ve got reports that the federal government has been commandeering supplies ordered by businesses, because they’ve been left flat footed. It’s just a complete shemozzle.”

The backbencher’s comments followed a statement from the Health Department, which sought to alleviate concerns the government had redirected RAT supply.

“Widespread reporting that supplies of rapid antigen test kits are being redirected to the Commonwealth Department of Health are untrue,” a spokesman said.

“The Department of Health reaffirms that the department has not requisitioned all RAT supplies within and entering Australia.”

It’s expected some 70 million tests purchased by the federal government are set to hit Australian shores.

It is not yet clear where the tests will be deployed or when they will arrive for use.

On Friday, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham blamed the shortage of at-home testing on the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“If we could all have predicted what the Omicron variant would look like, of course we would have prepared for it in different ways,” he said.

“But ultimately, we modelled very carefully how we would reopen against the Delta variant. Omicron’s changed a lot of that.”


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