Rapid antigen testing available for business

Rapid antigen tests are an option for businesses in their response to COVID-19. They’re not mandatory and won’t be suitable for everyone. It’s up to you to choose whether you want to use rapid antigen tests in your business.

How to get tests

From 1 December businesses that choose to use rapid antigen tests for surveillance testing will be able to directly source approved tests from the following authorised suppliers (all are nasal swabs):

  • Roche Diagnostics NZ Ltd             
  • Abbott Rapid Diagnostics             
  • Pantonic Health (Australia) or Arrotex Pharmaceuticals (NZ) Limited        
  • EBOS Group Ltd.

Businesses need to pay for rapid antigen tests themselves.

From 15 December, if you don’t want to buy tests directly from these authorised suppliers you’ll be able to buy them from a local distributor. The Ministry of Health is currently working through the details of supply.

The Ministry of Health recommends that businesses trial different tests before committing to buying one in bulk as there are differences in processes. 

About rapid antigen tests

Rapid antigen tests offer:

  • a much faster turnaround than a laboratory PCR test (around 15 minutes compared to 2-5 days)
  • an additional level of protection for a business’s workers, contacts, and customers.

Rapid antigen tests are not:

  • as accurate at detecting COVID-19 as nasal and saliva PCR tests (a positive RAT result must be confirmed with a PCR test)
  • used for diagnosis of people with COVID-19 symptoms
  • a replacement for existing nasal and saliva PCR tests
  • mandatory for businesses
  • acceptable for mandatory surveillance testing under the Required Testing Order (RTO)
  • a replacement for vaccination.

If you choose to use rapid antigen testing in your workplace, you need to follow health and safety guidance, which you can find in the Rapid Antigen Testing FAQs. 

Rapid antigen testing FAQ [PDF, 714 KB]

For general information on rapid antigen testing see the Ministry of Health website, which will be updated regularly.

Rapid antigen testing(external link) — Ministry of Health

Rapid antigen testing guide [PDF, 471 KB]

For more information contact covid-19poc@health.govt.nz

Lessons learnt from Rapid Antigen Testing Trial(external link) — MBIE