Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Quick read: When and how to get a test

When and how to get tested

The only reliable way to know if you have COVID-19 is to get a test. Two types of tests are recommended in Australia:

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) can be purchased from pharmacies, supermarkets or online. They can be done anywhere, including at home, with results in 15-20 minutes.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are done through your GP or at a testing clinic. They are more accurate, but results take 1-3 days.

What you need to know

You should get a test if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if they’re mild.

You should also get a test if you’re considered a close contact of a person with COVID-19.

If you’ve already had COVID-19, you should get a test if you develop new symptoms at least 4 weeks after recovering.

Consider doing a rapid antigen test if you’re going to visit an aged-care facility, see someone with a chronic medical condition or attend a function or party.

You should get a test if it’s part of a COVID screening program for your school or employer.


Got other COVID questions? Get COVID clarity

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.