Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)

Rapid antigen tests (RATs), detect specific pieces (i.e., antigens) found in COVID-19. It is taken with a front of nose swab and test results are available in about 20-mins.

When to use a RAT

The most important time to use a RAT test is:

  • if you have symptoms and are unwell or,

  • you’re a household contact.

Where do I get a RAT?

You can access a free RAT test at Tend, a testing centre, or you can now order them online if you are a household contact, critical worker or unwell.

You can also purchase RAT tests from pharmacies and supermarkets and use them for other reasons such as:

  • Had exposure to COVID-19

  • Before going to school or work

  • Visiting a person who is vulnerable to risks of COVID-19

  • Visiting a high-risk setting, e.g. an aged care facility, hospital or disability group home

  • Attending a gathering in a crowded place such as a wedding or funeral

Please note, it is not advisable to be visiting high-risk settings or large gatherings in Omicron Phase 3. A RAT test is as an extra precaution alongside other public health measures such as masking and social distancing.

How to use a RAT?

It’s important to follow the instructions in the RAT package and swab correctly to get the most accurate result.

When inserting the nasal swab, you are not trying to swab the inside of your nostril but the tissue further back in the nasal passages. So rather than going directly upwards with the swab, try to go horizontally and about 2-3 centimetres back. Then rotate the swab gently against the walls of the nasal passage the exact number of times your test recommends. Repeat on the other side.

Positive diagnosis with a RAT

If you test positive for a RAT, you need to report the result on the My Covid Record website. Watch this quick 2-min video to learn how to self-report your RAT results. You do not need to confirm the positive RAT with a PCR test unless advised. 

If you have a COVID-19 positive child as a result of a self-RAT test please call 0800 222 478

To learn how to self-manage your COVID-19 symptoms from home, follow this link.

Negative diagnosis from a RAT

If you get a negative result and continue to have symptoms of COVID-19 illness, continue to self-isolate and try to repeat the test in 24 hours.