Rapid Antigen Tests
For "early identification, early isolation and early treatment”, the Government is procuring Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits in bulk for various groups of people for testing. The objective is to identify those who have been infected and sever transmission chains at the earliest possible time.
An RAT is designed to directly detect SARS-CoV-2 virus proteins (antigens) in respiratory specimens. It is intended for qualitative detection of antigens in specimens from individuals with suspected infections. As such, it should be used in conjunction with the results of clinical interpretation and other laboratory tests. Different brands of tests are available in the market. Most of them require nasal or nasopharyngeal swab samples or deep throat saliva samples. The test is easy to perform.
How to choose RAT kits?
You can purchase RAT kits for voluntary testing. There is sufficient supply in the market, so please do not hoard. When choosing RAT kits from the market, you may make reference to the following lists:
- Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR: Listed Rapid Antigen Tests for COVID-19 under the Medical Device Administrative Control System
- National Medical Products Administration: List of approved medical devices for COVID-19 preventive and control uses (Chinese version only)
- European Union: Common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: List of SARS-CoV-2 antigen diagnostic tests with Emergency Use Authorization
Or check out Consumer Council's dedicated webpage:
Free distribution of RAT kits by the Government
The Government is distributing free RAT kits to the following groups of people:
- Specified high-risk and target groups – through their respective industry associations/ government departments.
- Residents undergoing "StayHomeSafe" – are provided with RAT kits as part of the supplies they receive.
How to do an RAT?
You can do the test yourself and it is easy to perform.
Points to note
before you start
before the test
right before the test
the tip of the swab
Read the follow instructions carefully and strictly
with testing solution
on a flat surface
of drops of sample
solution in the sample well
the time specified
Doing an RAT for children? Check out the experts’ advice.
Wash your hands before and after the test. Find a clean, well-ventilated spot to do the test. Clear up non-essential items around you. Keep a distance of at least 2 metres from other people. If the surrounding environment is contaminated, disinfect with 1-in-49 diluted bleach. For metallic surfaces, use 70% alcohol to disinfect.
Record the result
Take a photo of the result if you are undergoing "StayHomeSafe" or are tested positive. The photo is needed for reporting.
How to read the test?
The presentation of test results vary between brands. Please refer to the user guide of each brand.
Check out the demonstration video.
What if the test result is positive?
If you are tested positive by RAT, please take all necessary steps to avoid further spreading the virus.
Stay home, avoid going out. If the home environment allows, please stay in your own room and keep the door closed. No one else should be allowed to enter the room. If you have to leave the room, please wear a well-fitted surgical mask properly. At all times, take personal protective measures.
If you are tested positive by RAT for the first time, report via the online platform “Declaration System for individuals tested positive for COVID-19 using Rapid Antigen Test” within 24 hours. If you have difficulties with the online platform, call the automated system at 1836 119 to register your identification document and telephone number. The Centre for Health Protection will contact you later to finish the reporting procedure. All cases reported through the system will be required to undergo nucleic acid test by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health. Cases confirmed to be negative by the nucleic acid test will be deleted from the confirmed case record. The relevant persons will no longer be able to use the quarantine orders issued by the Government, recovery QR code records or any other relevant documents as a proof of recovery.
Watch this demo video on using the declaration system.
Keep track of your health conditions:
- Do you only have mild symptoms? If you only have a mild fever, cough or sore throat, or no symptoms at all, based on risk assessment, the Centre for Health Protection will arrange for you to isolate either at a Community Isolation Facility or at home temporarily. Click the hyperlinks to learn about next steps, until you are discharged from isolation: infographics | details
While isolating at home:
The Government will distribute anti-epidemic kits to each person confirmed positive and his/her household members in phases.
For help with daily needs, please call the hotline 1836 119.
For medical advice, please call Hospital Authority’s hotline 1836 115.
Check out the Rapid Antigen Test ‧ Positive Result ‧ Pending Admission ‧ StayHomeSafe Infostation for more practical advice.
- Are you feeling unwell? If you have the following warning symptoms, please visit a hospital accident & emergency department (A&E) directly: persistent fever (>38.5℃) for more than 2 days despite fever-reducing medicine*; body temperature at 35℃ or below; convulsion; difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath; loss of speech or mobility; inability to wake up or stay conscious; pain in chest or abdomen; dizziness or confusion; weakness or unsteadiness; decreased or no movement of fetus for women pregnant for 24 weeks or more; persistent inability to drink or eat, or diarrhoea / vomiting for more than 2 days.
*Please follow the medication instruction on intake of fever-reducing medicine and watch out for overdose.
- If you are elderly patient aged 70 or above, a child aged 5 or below, pregnant woman at 28 or more weeks of gestation, or in an immunosuppressive state, when symptoms show, please arrange an appointment at the Hospital Authority’s Designated Clinics for COVID-19 Confirmed Cases or seek medical advice via tele-consultation.
The guidelines on this website will be updated from time to time to provide information most suited to people tested positive but pending admission. Please stay tuned.
What if the test result is negative?
You are likely not infected. However, RAT has its limitations in terms of sensitivity. A single negative RAT result cannot preclude the possibility that you have been infected but are in the period of incubation, or that you are at an early stage of infection. Please remain vigilant and take all anti-epidemic measures. If you have symptoms or high exposure risk, continue to get tested repeatedly within a short period of time and closely monitor your health conditions.