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Digital Makes Ordering New Zealand’s Rapid Antigen Tests Easy

A speedy way to detect COVID-19 is the Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT). With results available within minutes, it can certainly be a great way to manage the virus. Now, New Zealand is making millions of RATs available. What makes the process a lot more seamless is its digital methodology. With online ordering leading the way, accessing needed tests is easy.

As per the New Zealand government website, anyone who is symptomatic (or has been in contact with someone who has) can now order RATs through the newly launched RAT requester site.

It’s one of a range of ways we are making testing more readily available for those who need it. We have a good supply of RATs to meet demand during Phase Three of our Omicron response.

– Jo Pugh, Acting Group Manager, COVID-19 Testing and Supply

Pugh disclosed that on top of the 15 million RATs that arrived recently, more products have come. Another 2.6 million have arrived, followed by another delivery of 5.1 million RATs. Moreover, he cited that these new RATs are flowing through the supply chain and into collection sites where they can be accessed by anyone assessed as needing one.

There are 146 collection sites, 106 testing centres and 21 providers supporting our priority population groups nationwide. And with the addition of participating pharmacies and GPs, there are now more than 500 access points for RATs, with additional sites continuing to be opened across the country.

Yet, what makes it even more seamless is the digital component. Pugh detailed that the ability to place an order online ensures that the process is smoother when people go to collect them. It also means that the whole whānau don’t need to queue up at the testing centre when one person in the household gets sick, because one can collect RATs for everyone in your household.

People can still access free RATs without an order via Community Testing Centres, but only for an eligible individual. RATs are also available for purchase in some retail stores now for people who are not unwell or have household contacts but want a RAT for other reasons. The goal is to make sure that getting tested is as easy as possible for people – it is an important part of the country’s strategy to slow the spread of the virus to keep the pressure off hospitals.

Digital also offers solutions to individuals who want to hoard the tests. As disclosed, the website also contains features to prevent people from ordering too many RATs to ensure that everyone who needs one can get one. These include order limits by address and phone number.

To a large degree, the pandemic has made digital a must. When the virus made lockdowns and social distancing a norm, the need for digital solutions became more pronounced. Experts believe the virus did what many governments and businesses needed to do a long time ago.

Digital transformation has made ways that seem impossible before possible. The best part is it’s giving everyone the service they truly deserve in various sectors of society. Another example is how a dedicated website has become the solution to help AgriTech entrepreneurs get needed aid from the government.

There are numerous ways digital can help New Zealand plan better and meet possible challenges ahead before they even materialise. A great example here is Wellington’s Digital Twin which with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT) allows government and experts to see the ill effects of climate change in the years to come as reported on OpenGov Asia.


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