“My partner [Liv] … was like, ‘Matt, you need to build this site’. That I can not really claim the credit myself, “says Matt Hayward, founder of FindaRAT.com.au.
Matt, 24, is a Melbourne-based software developer and built the Find a RAT website during his Christmas holiday to give people in Australia a live map where they can purchase rapid antigen testing (RATs).
Users can submit information on where rapid antigen tests are available or advise if they are low or not in stock.
It took Matt only six hours to build the website, but he says it has already seen 1.2 million users since its launch on Monday and 8,000 reports have been made about rapid availability of antigen tests.
“I’m on vacation, so Monday morning I woke up at home and made it up and launched the site the same day.”
“There have been a lot of comments from people who saw, ‘I could see my parents in nursing homes’ and ‘I could get one and travel between states to see my son which I did not see before’ a year, ”he said.
“I think ideally everyone could get a test.”
Changes to test rules
Following a National Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that people who test positive for a rapid antigen test will no longer be required to take a PCR test.
He also said that a maximum of 10 free rapid antigen tests will be provided by pharmacies for concession cardholders in the next three months, but will stop announcing universal access to rapid antigen tests.
“Universal free access was not considered the right policy response by all states and territories present today, and the Commonwealth,” he said.
Matt’s site has seen some false reports, such as Kirribilli House (Mr Morrison’s official residence in Sydney) being cited as a site where rapid antigen tests were in stock, but overall, it works well, he says.
“It’s all crowdsourced, so that means anyone can view all the data for free and anyone can submit a report.”
“So when people saw something that was wrong, like someone who put Coles as their house for a little fun, people went and corrected them, so that’s been really, really good.”
Source: Supplied / Matt Hayward
In addition to the cost of the website domain, Matt pays for bandwidth and to display the card on the site, so he is grateful to those who have donated money to him to cover the cost through the crowdfunding platform Buy Me A Coffee.
“I woke up one morning with a $ 2,500 bill, so I made a few changes to reduce that, but all the people who ‘buy coffee’ to support that cost are definitely helping out and helping it be a free resource. to be. ”
“All those funds are going back to just keep the site running.”
More test initiatives coming up
And Matt is not alone. Other community initiatives seeking to help people test across Australia have been launched over the past week.
Like Matt, software engineer Jye Lewis built the Covid Test Finder website after a conversation with his wife Kate about the difficulty of accessing a PCR test in New South Wales.
Jye, 24, who hails from the Sutherland Shire, says he and Kate, 23, roamed Sydney in search of test clinics only to find they were closed.
“My mother also had trouble finding PCR tests and she was a little sick and working with older people.”
“There’s a lot of pressure on people, especially when they can’t work.”
The website, which is self-funded by the couple, has received about 1,100 hits every half hour.
They say they have entered most of the data through the information available on Facebook pages and are grateful to those who have helped keep it up to date by submitting reports.
“At a time when many people do not have the capacity – or worse, are limited in their ability to work and … live a normal life – all we can do to give back would be great,” says Jye. .
Support for Aboriginal communities to test
You, a 43-year-old Butchalla woman, and Bec a 41-year-old Maori woman whose mother is part of the Stolen Generations are a couple from Brisbane.
They are the founders of Dreamtime Aroha, an Aboriginal-owned store that sells Jarjum (baby) babies, but recently turned its attention to fundraising through GoFundMe to provide rapid antigen testing for remote Aboriginal communities in Queensland, including Palm Island and Cherbourg.
So far, they have raised more than $ 13,000.
You say that in the city people use Afterpay to buy tests, but on Palm Island there are no quick tests available.
“Even where I currently live, in Meanjin (Brisbane), it’s 10 hours of waiting in the sun. Yesterday, people were fainting in the sun because they could not get RATs.”
She says the situation on Palm Island is particularly dire, with the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council last week posting a photo of a makeshift morgue brought into the community of about 2,500.
About 44 percent of residents over 16 on Palm Island are fully vaccinated, compared to Queensland’s total double dose rate of more than 86 percent.
Only 57 percent of Cherbourg’s residents are fully incarcerated.
“There is a great deal of mistrust in the government. I hear that they are divided into vaccinated and non-vaccinated and that they find it very difficult to open them up,” Jo said.
“The RATs seem to be what people are currently trusting.”
You say a lot of people on Plam Island have to go to work, but can not, unless they deliver a negative result. She also says that there is also a major concern for elders in the community who are likely to be more vulnerable to the virus.
Prior to Mr Morrison’s announcement about concession card holders gaining access to free trials on Thursday, the Department of Public Health SBS News referred to remarks he made earlier on December 30 in which he said the government was already anticipating. rapid antigen tests in aged care and health settings.
“In addition, we are looking at vulnerable groups of people, particularly indigenous peoples, especially in remote areas,” he said.
“Where possible, especially for vulnerable groups, we would try to do this through the pharmacy network.”
You have ordered the fast antigen tests in bulk online and are looking to send new week to communities as much as possible.
She’s glad she can help, but does not think it should be her full responsibility.
“I feel we need to take care of our own … I would not, if only one person with my partner, have to raise money and be responsible,” she says.
“The government needs to invest more money in our municipality.
“The thing that bothers me the most … is that I was able to raise $ 50,000 and I will still not touch the surface of people in need.”
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