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Free rapid antigen tests available for home Covid-19 testing

Mar 03, 2022

Free rapid antigen tests are now available for home testing if you are symptomatic or a household contact.

But you will have to order rapid antigen tests (RATs) via a website, the Ministry of Health (MOH) says.

The RATs will be available for collection from 146 collections sites throughout the country.

MOH spokesperson Jo Pugh said "the ability to place an order online ensures that the process is smoother when people go to collect them. It also means that the whole whānau don't need to queue up at the testing centre when one person in the household gets sick, because you'll be able to collect RATs for everyone in your household".

They will still be available without an order via Community Testing Centres, but only for eligible individuals.

RATs were also available for purchase in some retail stores now for people who were not unwell or household contacts but wanted a RAT for other reasons, Pugh said.

"We want to make sure that getting tested is as easy as possible for people - it is an important part of our strategy to slow the spread of the virus to keep the pressure off hospitals.

"The website also contains features to prevent people from ordering too many RATs to ensure that everyone who needs one can get one. These include order limits by address and phone number."

The MOH expected to have RATs available at 1000 sites around the country by the end of March.

It was also looking at options for delivering RATs.

GPs would also be using RATs as part of clinical consultations, where appropriate, Pugh.

But they would not, generally, be distributing them to the public.

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