Australian University students are in for a shock, with anal swab testing beginning after the Easter Break. Yak Media is here to fill you in.
A shock decision by leading Australian universities will require students who are attending face-to-face classes on campus to undergo regular anal swab testing. Universities with current COVID-19 testing facilities, including UoN, will be the first among more than 20 top universities to introduce what some are calling ‘extreme protection measures’.
The decision comes at a time when Australia is experiencing a number of concerning outbreaks that have crossed state borders and include the more virulent UK strain of COVID-19. The recent outbreaks have seen temporary lock-down measures reintroduced in an attempt to prevent further community transmission.
A spokesperson from the Australian Council of Universities (ACoU), Phil McCavity, stated, “the decision was not made lightly. But after lengthy consultations with Australian Community Health [ACH] and the government task force, we believe this is the best way to protect our students.
“We have also liaised with Chinese health officials who have been using this technique to detect COVID-19 since last year, and they have been very cooperative, sharing their processes and what they have learned so far.”
According to some experts, testing the gastrointestinal tract or excrement found in sewage has a better detection and diagnosis rate when compared to current PCR testing methods. It is also able to detect COVID-19 in cases where PCR testing has returned negative results.
Recent sewage surveillance tests in Australian found higher levels of COVID19 within communities when compared to levels being reported by the more conventional throat and nasal swab testing methods.
Richard Tater of the Association for Australian Students (AfSS) responded to the recent decision, stating, “Firstly, this is a breach of privacy unlike any we have ever seen before in Australia, and students have unwittingly been placed on the front line.”
Director of the Global Council for Student Welfare (GCSW), Déa Reerz, has also spoken out against this decision.
“Students should be able to attend classes without this unnecessary invasion of privacy. This is a direct breach of civil rights under the guise of protecting students”, said Reerz.
The AfSS and GCSW have created a joint online petition for Australian university students to sign, with the petition gaining over 1000 signatures so far. The petition demands Australian universities reverse their decision and adopt less controversial methods to keep students COVID safe.
However, with the Easter Holidays just around the corner, it is unlikely the decision will be reversed before students return to campus after the Easter break.