RAT imposters target NSW Health Minister | Western magazine

Talk of people falsely reporting positive rapid antigen tests to authorities has become a reality for the NSW Minister of Health.

Brad Hazzard revealed on Tuesday that he was advised to self-isolate by an automated message from NSW Health due to a report of a positive COVID-19 test submitted under his name.

The incident follows Mr Hazzard receiving reports that others were being subjected to false test reports submitted by others.

“It’s just a silly and quite counterproductive exercise,” he told AAP on Tuesday.

Not only was this a “huge waste of time” for NSW Health and Service NSW, it also hampered the state’s efforts to keep up with the flow of Omicron.

The false report is also illegal – breaching a public health order about providing false information to NSW Health and resulting in a $5,000 fine.

Mr Hazzard said he advised the NSW Service the report was false and the matter would be referred to NSW Police.

“I would be hopeful that the culprit or culprits are found and given a warning shot,” he said.

Reporting a positive RAT result can be done through a user’s Service NSW account.

But an account is not required, and a person can submit a result on the web form for themselves or on behalf of another person.

Each report requires a statement that the user understands giving false or misleading information is a serious crime, punishable by fines or jail time.

Asked if Service NSW could do more to verify people’s identities, Mr Hazzard said officials knew there would be a risk of “a very small number” of people doing the wrong thing.

“That’s why the laws counter that… (but) it’s impossible to legislate against sheer stupidity,” he said.

At an early morning press conference, Mr Hazzard called the behavior “pretty moronic”.

“It’s juvenile, it’s silly, but it’s also so disappointing that you would actually undermine the incredibly hardworking public health team here in New South Wales,” he told reporters.

All states except Western Australia accept positive RAT reports via online forms.

South Australia requires a positive case to verify their mobile number.

Like NSW, Tasmania requires users to sign a declaration acknowledging that heavy fines apply to those who make false reports.

Australian Associated Press

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