Large shipments of Rapid Antigen Tests arrive ahead of Omicron peak

Over the past two days, 5.2 million Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) arrived in the country as we move to the next phase of the Omicron response,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced.

Another 10 million will arrive over the weekend, bringing our total supply of RATs in the country to more than 22 million by Monday.

“RATs will increasingly become the primary testing method in the community with daily case numbers expected to hit 10,000 very soon.

“These tests will soon be shipped to community testing centres, GPs and pharmacies right across New Zealand. Businesses who need them as part of the Close Contact Exemption Scheme can also access them.

“Users who take a RAT will get their results within 20 minutes which will help identify cases sooner, reduce testing wait times and minimise disruption to business and ensure critical services and infrastructure workforce can continue to keep New Zealand operating.

“Despite significant global constraints, I’m pleased we have secured enough RATs to ensure that anyone who needs a test can get one throughout the Omicron outbreak.

“We have orders in place for 180 million RATs over the next six months.

“In Phase Three, PCR tests will be used in hospitals, aged residential care facilities and GPs can order a PCR if they think it’s necessary,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.