How to use a RAT
Step 1: Prepare the RAT kit
Get ready by blowing your nose and then washing and drying your hands.
Lay out the contents of your RAT kit — a tube of solution, a stopper, a swab, and the test cassette. Remove the swab (it looks like a long cotton ear bud).
Step 2: Glide swab into nostril
Take the soft end and gently glide swab in 1 nostril, going low and slow, about 2 centimetres deep. Twirl the swab over the surface of the nostril around 5 times. Then repeat in your other nostril, going round again slowly 5 times.
Step 3: Put swab into solution
Get the tube with solution, open it, keep it upright and make sure not to spill it. Place the soft end of the swab into the solution and swirl about 5 times. You want to make sure that the swab is soaked.
Step 4: Remove swab from solution
Pinch the swab as you are removing it — squeeze as much liquid out as you can, to keep it in the tube. Place the stopper firmly on the tube.
Step 5: Shake tube
Give the tube a shake or flick a couple of times so it gets a good mix. Then leave upright for about a minute.
Step 6: Put drops on cassette
With the test cassette ready on a flat surface, take your tube (with the solution of your sample), and turn it upside down. Follow the kit instructions as to how many drops are needed for your test. Squeeze the drops through the stopper onto the well.
Step 7: Wait 15 minutes
Wait for 15 minutes — set a timer if that helps. Again, check with the kit instructions as the waiting time may differ.
Step 8: Check results
Check for results.
If there is no line at the C (C for control), or there are 3 lines, then the test did not work properly this time (it is invalid — this sometimes happens). You will need to do another test.
If you see a single line at the C, this shows that the test has worked and you are negative for COVID-19.
If you see 2 lines (even if it is a faint line at the T) then this shows you have tested positive for COVID-19. You will need to isolate for 7 days.
Video: How to do a RAT
Report your results
Please report your results (positive or negative):
- online: My Covid Record (external link)
- by calling: 0800 222 478 (choose option 3).
Doing a test and reporting the result in My Covid Record means you can get the help you need as early as possible.
Dispose of your test
Once you have finished with your rapid antigen test, you should dispose of it.
Place the test and any other contaminated material, such as swabs, into the plastic bag that comes with the kit.
Seal the bag and place it in your general household rubbish bin. Do not put it in your recycling.
You can recycle the cardboard packaging and instructions.
This information is available in a printable poster.
How to use a rapid antigen test (RAT) [PDF, 730 KB]
The Ministry of Health has information on approved RATs and how to use them.
Approved RATs and how to use them | health.govt.nz (external link)
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