UPDATE: Australians will soon be able to test themselves for Covid-19 using take home rapid antigen testing kits available through pharmacies and online. While there is no specific timing as to the release of take home kits, they may be available as soon as November 1.
One key reason for the delay in widespread rollout of home testing kits is that there is currently no formalised system for reporting positive tests. Individual states and territories are currently working on developing self-reporting systems, and once those are in place widespread distribution of take home Covid-19 tests is expected.
Unlike the free PCR test administered in Covid-19 testing centres, the take home rapid antigen tests will have to be purchased. No solid pricing has been offered as yet, but it is expected that a single test will cost around $20.
As will all healthcare products in Australia, check that the test kit has been reviewed and approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) before making a purchase.
Fraudulent COVID-19 testing kits
In Australia it is illegal to advertise or supply self-test kits for serious infectious diseases. These kits are designed to be used under strict conditions by medical professionals, as home testing without proper regulation can lead to a large number of false positive or negative results. Testing in a doctor's office or clinic also ensures that anyone that tests positive is already at point of care and doesn’t need to do extra travel.
The Australian Chinese community is being heavily targeted with advertising for home test kits on the social media app, WeChat. The app has around 3 million active users in Australia and a number of home testing kits, some of which claim to be able to give results within 15 minutes, are being advertised regularly. Any individual charged with advertising or selling products not approved by the TGA can face up to five years in prison and $840,000 fine.
The sale of home test kits is also illegal in China, but mistrust of how the Chinese government handled the Wuhan outbreak may be a contributing factor to the sale of home test kits to the Chinese community.
If you think you may have COVID-19 and want to get tested, the easiest way to find and book an appointment with a medical professional is through COVID19clinics.com.au . Our booking portal is open 24 hours a day, so you can find the help you need when you need it.