Rapid antigen tests (often referred to as RATs) are a screening test for COVID-19 that can provide a result quickly.
They work best when there is a lot of virus present. They are less accurate than a PCR test, which is the only test used for diagnosis of COVID-19. If your RAT result is positive, you will need to follow up with a PCR test at your local community testing centre or local GP.
Asymptomatic, unvaccinated individuals over 12 years leaving Auckland. Port Waikato is included in the boundary with Auckland, and travellers across the boundary must follow the same rules.
Asymptomatic, unvaccinated domestic travellers over 12 years from any other part of the country, who travel with a transport company that requires evidence of a negative test result.
Do not come into the Pharmacy for a Rapid Antigen Test. Get a PCR test at your local community testing centre or GP.
Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for more information. To find your local testing centre for a PCR test, please visit Healthpoint.
Evidence of a negative rapid antigen test is required by the following people no more than 72 hours prior to travel, preferably within the 24 hours immediately preceding travel for the eligible groups outlined above.
RATs are required for travel out of Auckland but not entry into Auckland. RATs will be required for travel with some domestic travel operators, such as Air NZ on a per-trip basis.
Tests are free and only available for eligible people, as outlined below:
It is recommended you should book through the website, enquire online, or phone in advance to make sure there is capacity to see you for a supervised rapid antigen test. Availability will change with demand.
A rapid antigen test result takes about 15 minutes. If the result is negative, you will receive a text notification as proof of a negative test result almost immediately after this result has been entered in by the trained pharmacist. If your result is invalid, the pharmacy will call you and advise you to take a PCR test. You may be able to have another rapid antigen test in the pharmacy, but only 24 hours after the initial test.
If your rapid antigen test result is positive, the trained pharmacist will contact you directly on the phone number provided to advise you to go and get a PCR test. If you don’t have a phone you will have to wait for your result as instructed by the pharmacy. If your result is positive, you will be told in person to get a PCR test. You can also call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for further advice. Please note: rapid antigen tests sometimes return a false positive. The PCR test will confirm if you have COVID-19.
If a person has flu-like symptoms or symptoms associated with COVID-19 or is a close or casual contact for COVID-19, rapid antigen screening should not be used, and the person should be directed immediately for a laboratory-based PCR test for COVID-19.