Rapid antigen testing (RAT)

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are currently Aotearoa New Zealand’s primary testing tool for people with COVID-19 symptoms or household contacts. Testing is free for those with symptoms and/or who are household contacts.

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Rapid antigen testing (RATs)

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are currently Aotearoa New Zealand’s primary testing tool for people with COVID-19 symptoms or household contacts. RAT results are available quickly – usually in about 20 minutes.

If someone at higher risk of severe Covid-19 illness is a household contact, and has a negative RAT for COVID-19, a more sensitive PCR test may be needed. A health professional can advise you on the right test to take in your situation.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and get tested. If your RAT result is negative but your symptoms continue or worsen, continue to stay at home and take a further test 48 hours later.

All COVID-19 testing for those with symptoms and/or who are household contacts is free. If you need a COVID-19 test for international travel you will need to pay for this.

The following resources show if you need a test, how to take a RAT and how to report your RAT result:

Information and resources on RATs are also available in different languages

How to get free RATs

How to take a rapid antigen test

For videos and factsheets for each type of rapid antigen test available in New Zealand see the approved rats and how to use them section

Recording your RAT result

You should report the results of your rapid antigen test (RAT) whether  you test positive or negative. You can do this online through My Covid Record.

Having trouble with My Covid Record?

If you are having trouble using My Covid Record, you can report the results of your RAT over the phone by calling  0800 222 478 and choose option 3.

Report for someone else

You can also report a RAT result for someone else through your own My Covid Record account. To make a report on behalf of someone else you will need their NHI number, full name and date of birth.

If the person you're reporting for doesn't have an NHI number call 0800 222 478 and choose option 3.

Testing positive

If you get a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) result:

  • this does not need to be confirmed with a PCR unless advised.
  • you do not need another test before you end your isolation period.

If you still have symptoms after your seven day isolation period has ended, you are advised to stay at home until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.

Most people should not repeat their rapid antigen test again (for 28 days) after they have tested positive. The result may continue to be positive, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re still infectious.

A small number of specific workplaces such as healthcare settings, may require a negative RAT result before their employees return.

People who are low risk and have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 after a previous COVID-19 diagnosis should stay home and recover, until 24 hours after symptoms resolve, and are not required to take a Rapid antigen test.

People with underlying health conditions or who have COVID-19 like symptoms that are getting worse after a previous COVID-19 diagnosis should seek advice from a health practitioner or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms

Even if you test negative you should stay at home until you are well. We also encourage people to continue to wear masks, physically distance where possible and maintain good hand hygiene.

Buying RATs

If you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms and aren’t a household contact, but want to take a test, you can now buy a RAT at some pharmacies and shops. Any RATs sold in New Zealand must be RATs approved by the Ministry.

RATs for sale won’t come from the public health response supply. They will be sourced from the private market who will also set pricing and distribution.

Selling RATs to the public is regulated under the Commerce Act 1986, the Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993.  

Find more information about buying RATs on the Consumer Protection website.

Approved RATs and how to use them (as at 2 May 2022)

All RAT devices should be kept out of reach of young children and stored safely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The Ministry of Health recommends always following the manufacturer’s instructions for using RAT devices, as not all brands are the same. You can watch a video explaining how to use some of these tests from the links in the table below.

More information on taking a RAT is available on Unite Against COVID-19

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021 came into force 22 April 2021. This order prohibits a person from importing, manufacturing, supplying, selling, packing, or using a point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 unless the Director-General of Health has:

  • authorised the person’s activity or
  • exempted the point-of-care test from the prohibition.

Rapid antigen tests that are exempted and authorised for use in New Zealand are listed in the table below and published on the New Zealand Gazette

Any person can import, manufacture, supply, sell, pack, or use the approved RATs listed below.

Applications to add a new RAT device to the approved Ministry of Health list can be made via the Epidemic notice and Orders section

The Ministry of Health continues to evaluate new applications and any updates to the authorised list is published by gazette notice and included in the below table.

Product name(s) 

Manufacturer (country) 

Sample type(s) 

Product configuration 

Video and PDF instructions for use 

Roche SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test (SD Biosensor) 

SD Biosensor (Republic of Korea) 

 

Nasal, nasopharyngeal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

PanBio COVID-19 Ag Rapid 

Abbott Rapid Diagnostics Jena GmbH (Germany) 

Nasal, nasopharyngeal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

CareStart COVID-19 Antigen 

CareStart COVID-19 home test

Access Bio Inc (United States of America) 

Nasal, nasopharyngeal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

Atomo COVID-19 Antigen Test 

Access Bio Inc (United States of America) 

Nasal, nasopharyngeal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

CLINITEST Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test 

Healgen Scientific Limited Liability Company (United States of America) or Zhejiang Orient Gene Biotech Co., Ltd (China) 

Nasal, nasopharyngeal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

Healgen Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test and Orient Gene Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test 

Healgen Scientific Limited Liability Company (United States of America) or Zhejiang Orient Gene Biotech Co., Ltd (China) 

Nasal, nasopharyngeal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

BD Veritor System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 and BD kit for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 (visually read) 

Becton, Dickinson and Company (United States of America) 

Nasal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

Sofia SARS Antigen FIA Test kit with Sofia and Sofia 2 analyser 

Quidel Corporation (United States of America) or Puritan Medical Products Company LLC (United States of America) 

Nasal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

Ecotest COVID-19 Antigen Nasal Test Kit

Assure Tech (Hangzhou) Co Ltd (China) 

Nasal swab or nasal pen 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test 

STANDARD i-Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test 

SD Biosensor (Republic of Korea) 

Nasal, nasopharyngeal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

GenBody COVID-19 Ag Test 

GenBody Inc. (Republic of Korea) 

Nasal, nasopharyngeal swab 

Professional or self-test of any package size 

BIOCREDIT COVID-19 Ag Home Test RapiGEN Inc. (Republic of Korea) Nasal Professional or self-test of any package size

FlowFlex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test

ACON Biotech (Hangzhou) Co., Ltd. (China)

Nasal

Professional or self-test of any package size

Zybio SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Assay Kit

 Zybio Inc. (China)

Nasal swab

Self-test of any package size 

  • Zybio SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Assay Kit instructions for use 

StrongStep SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test

Nanjing Liming Bio-Products Co., Ltd (China) Nasal swab  Professional or self-test of any package size 

CLUNGENE COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test

Hangzhou Clongene Biotech Co., Ltd (China) Nasal swab Self-test of any package size

INDICAID COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test

 


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PHASE Scientific International, Ltd. (Hong Kong and United States of America) Nasal swab Self-test of any package size
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