When to get tested for COVID-19

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are the main way of finding out if you have COVID-19. They are free and can be collected at a number of sites around the region.

You no longer need to have COVID-19 symptoms or be a household contact to be eligible for free RATs. Make sure you order them online first, only order what you need, and remember that our large community testing centres have the most stock on site.

There are usually five tests in each box and you will receive instructions on when you should take a test. It takes only 20 minutes to get your result.

Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and take a test.

image covid symptoms chart



Household Contacts of someone who has COVID-19, are recommended to take a RAT every day for five days. So long as you test negative, you will be able to go about daily life as normal. You’re encouraged to wear a mask whenever you leave home, particularly if visiting vulnerable people, like elderly or immunocompromised people, using public transport, or when in a crowded indoor space. 
PCR tests are still available for people in certain situations, check with Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or a health professional if you think you need to get a PCR test. 
More on the types of tests available at Unite against COVID-19 
Find out more about testing sites nearest you on HealthPoint

International Travellers:  

People arriving in New Zealand from overseas will continue to receive free RATs at the airport and will be encouraged to test on day 0/1 and 5/6. 


If you have cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms 

If you're feeling unwell with cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms, please call either: 

  • Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453
  • your doctor or Nurse Practitioner, or
  • your iwi health provider. 

If you test positive for COVID-19 

If you get a positive result on your rapid antigen test (RAT) you need to record it at My Covid Record or by phoning 0800 222 478. 
Check out these step by step instructions for reporting the result online. 
Depending on your situation, you may receive a call from your doctor or a health professional to find out how you are feeling and what support you need. 
If at any time you have difficulty breathing, feel very unwell or unsafe, call 111 immediately. 









Last updated 15 September 2022.