Additional supplies of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (RATs) will enable continued free testing for the public and health sector through to the end of June 2024, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has announced.
“New Zealand’s current inventory of RATs expires before the end of March and the ability to keep providing free stock would have come to an end,” Dr Reti says.
“Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora will procure supplies to enable the ongoing provision of free RATs through until 30 June. These free RATs will be available through the established national network of distribution providers, comprising of health providers and some pharmacies.
“Officials will provide me with further advice on COVID-19 testing and supply requirements from 1 July onwards.
“Many other countries have already decreased the wide distribution of free RATs, however this approach will ensure New Zealand continues to have good stocks of tests available as we enter winter,” Dr Reti says.
“Health New Zealand is purchasing a further five million RATs, these costs can be met from existing budgets for COVID-19 services.”