By Eunice Oh

Have you been driving from chemist to chemist only to see the same sign posted outside each pharmacy, ‘Rapid tests sold out’? Pharmacies and supermarkets across Australia are running out of the tests due to the surge in Omicron cases.

Whether it’s for back to school, work purposes or simply peace of mind, Australians are frantically searching for rapid antigen tests (RATs), but retail supplies are at an all-time low and are unlikely to improve significantly for a while yet.

The highly sought after tests have been recommended by both state and federal health authorities as a preferable alternative to PCR COVID-19 tests.

From 12 January 2022, people who test positive using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test at home must register with Service NSW when they get their results.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said that people who fail to register a positive rapid antigen test result on the Service NSW app will be fined $1000.

However, there will be a grace period of one week before fines are enforced from January 19.

Rapid Antigen Tests became even harder to find once the Australian government said people didn’t need a PCR if the RAT was positive.

Have you managed to pick up some tests from your local pharmacy? One vigilant shopper who managed to nab some RATs, Wollongong-based Bronwyn Leighton, shared, “My favourite site for price and reliability in stock levels is Healthylife. They apparently restock throughout the day rather than first thing in the morning, and I’ve had luck anywhere between midday and 3pm after checking back in regularly.”

This article first appeared on Better Homes & Garden and has been reproduced with permission.