You are eligible for a free COVID-19 test and should only get a test if you:
  • have COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. a fever, new or worsening cough, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, sneezing and running nose)
  • are a household contact (i.e. you live with someone who has COVID-19)
  • have been told to get tested by a Health Official  

You no longer have to get a test or self-isolate if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Monitor your symptoms and get a test if you start to feel unwell.

Call 111 if you have severe symptoms (such as chest pains or difficulty breathing) – the ambulance will be free.

How to get a test

Pre-order a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for collection

Pre-ordering a RAT is the quickest and easiest option. RATs can be ordered for you or someone else. 

If you are comfortable carrying out the test on your own, order a RAT:

You’ll need a mobile phone to confirm your order and to show your order number when you collect your RAT at a collection site.


Find your local Community RAT Collection site 

When to visit a Community Testing Centre

You should go to a Community Testing Centre if you need help using a RAT, or you were advised to get a PCR test, or a supervised test. If your RAT needs to be supervised you can ask for help.

You’ll be told if you need a RAT or a PCR test.

Testing centres are seeing high demand currently, so consider pre-ordering a test for collection as it may be a quicker and easier option for you. 


Find your local Community COVID-19 testing centre

Contact your GP or family doctor

Some medical practices offer COVID-19 tests. Call them to find out and follow their advice.

How to use a Rapid Antigen Test

When you go for testing you will be told whether you need a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or a PCR test. If you’re given a RAT it’s best to do this at home.

There are lots of different types of RATs available for use in New Zealand. While these all tend to be fairly similar, it’s important you follow the instructions carefully before taking the test. Most RAT kits take a few minutes to set-up and take. They normally take around 10 – 20 minutes to generate a result. 


How to take a RAT test

What happens after your test?
If your test was negative

Even if your result was negative you may still need to stay home:

  • If you are not a household contact you can return to your normal life once you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.
  • If you are a household contact you can finish isolating if this was your test on Day 7, and you do not have any symptoms. If you have not reached 7 day of the isolation period you need to remain at home
  • If you have ongoing symptoms that could be COVID-19 but have recorded 2 or more negative tests contact your GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for further advice.  You will need to visit a Community Testing Centre and request a PCR test.

Learn more

If your test was positive

If your test result was positive it means you have COVID-19. You need to go home and self-isolate. People you live with will also need to go home and self-isolate.

If you need help or advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 358.

What to do if you test positive

If you're still waiting for a PCR COVID-19 test result

If you had a PCR test it can take 2 – 5 days to receive your result. You will receive a call or a text to confirm your test result once it is available.

You can also access your test result, once it’s available, by:

  • Visiting My COVID Record
  • Contacting Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453
  • Contacting your GP or family doctor
How to record your RAT result

Instructions on how to record your RAT result are available from Unite Against COVID-19.

If you need help you can also call 0800 222 478.

COVID-19 symptoms
Common symptoms

Common symptoms of COVID-19 can include one or more of the following:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • a fever
  • temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
Less common symptoms of COVID-19

Less common symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle pain or body aches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • malaise — a general feeling of discomfort, illness or unease
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain
  • joint pain
  • confusion or irritability

These less common symptoms almost always occur with one or more of the common symptoms. These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are like other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu.

Severe symptoms - when to get help

If you have any severe symptoms dial 111. There will be no cost to the ambulance if you need one.

Severe symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • severe dizziness,
  • drowsiness or confusion
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pressure or pain lasting more than 10 minutes
  • being unable to stand
  • difficulty breathing