COVID-19: Rapid antigen tests

Also called RATs

Key points about COVID-19 and rapid antigen tests

  • Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are currently New Zealand’s primary testing tool for people with COVID-19 symptoms or household contacts.
  • RAT is generally taken with a front of nose swab. Tests can be carried out under supervision (done by a healthcare professional), or you can do it yourself.
  • Find out more about when you should have a test and how to report them.
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How to take the test will vary, depending on the brand of RAT. If you are doing the test yourself, we recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. You can find these instructions inside with the testing kit. You can also read Ministry of Health advice on how to use a RAT test.(external link)

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

If you need support to carry out a test or to understand the results, call Healthline free on 0800 358 5453.

If you get a negative test result and do not have symptoms, you continue doing your day-to-day activities like going to work or school.
If you get a negative test result but you do have symptoms, stay at home and take another RAT 48 hours later.
If you get a positive test result, it is recommended that you stay home and isolate for at least 5 days. Report your result (see below). You will NOT need to get a follow-up PCR test unless you have travelled into Aotearoa New Zealand and have a positive RAT result. This is so we can identify any new variants and only a PCR test can help show that.  
If a result is failed or indeterminate you must take the test again. 

Yes, report the results of your RAT through My Covid Record. Record all results (positive and negative) as it helps us better understand the outbreak.

To report your result, log in to your My Covid Record account link)(external link) or call 0800 222 478 and press option 3. 

Parents and caregivers can now choose to use My Covid Record to report RAT results for children under 12 and other family members instead of calling the 0800 222 478 number. If you are having problems getting your tamariki's results registered, your GP surgery can help with that. Read more about how to record your RAT results.(external link)

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