The use of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) has been widened during Omicron Phase 3 to test people who are symptomatic or a household contact. This is to ensure that New Zealand conserves its PCR tests for those who most need them – namely those who are unwell and therefore more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19.
RAT tests for the public
RATS are free under the public health response for those who need a test – household contacts and people with symptoms. You can get rapid antigen tests (RATs) in two ways:
- Via a free call at 0800 222 478 option 3
- Via the new website: covid19.health.nz
To make a request via the website, you will need to have access to a mobile phone to validate the order. RATs can be requested on behalf of someone else.
You will be issued an order number. You can then collect your RAT order from a collection site listed on Healthpoint, or have someone collect it for you. A delivery option is currently being worked on.
Purchasing precautionary RAT tests
If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and are not a household contact, but want to take a test, such as before going to visit friends or whānau, you can now buy a RAT at a participating retailer – including the Chemist Warehouse and Countdown. These RATs will be sourced and sold by the private market but must be of RATs approved by the Ministry.
They will not be drawn from the supply for the public health response. RATs available for public sale will be sourced from the private market who will also set pricing and distribution. RATs from the Ministry of Health’s central supply will not be made available for public sale – they are being distributed to support the public health response.