The Health Minister has announced free Covid-19 rapid antigen tests will continue to be provided to the public and health sector through to the end of June.

Dr Shane Reti said Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora will be provided with additional supplies to extend the ongoing provision of free kits, known as RATs, through until June 30 this year.

“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,” Reti said.

“Officials will provide me with further advice on Covid-19 testing and supply requirements from July 1 onwards”.

He said Health New Zealand was purchasing a further five million RATs using funds from “existing budgets for Covid-19 services”.

“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,” Reti said.