Govt announces funding for COVID drugs, rapid tests

Lloyd Burr 25/11/2021

LISTEN: As the country prepares to open up internally, hundreds of millions in funding for COVID treatments and rapid testing kits has been announced by the government.

There is also $300m for Pharmac to buy new COVID medicines, a $200m boost for people self-isolating at home and the sale of rapid virus tests to the public.

Business is at the front of the queue when it comes to rapid antigen testing and will get access to it from next week.

That means for the rest of us, we won't be able to get rapid antigen tests from pharmacies until December 15.

Health Minister Andrew Little said the new medicines will make a big difference to those who have COVID-19 or symptoms of the virus.

"They do have a major impact on symptoms so for unvaccinated people they will have some benefit for," he told Lloyd Burr Live.

"Reality is for unvaccinated people there is a much higher chance that if they get COVID they will get much sicker than those who are vaccinated."

Little said the $200m for home isolation will go towards "care packages" for people who don't have someone to bring personal items to them in a contactless or safe way.

"People isolating at home who need assistance for food, to get some kai and other things like hand sanitiser and personal items you would need while you're isolating at home."

Meanwhile, Little said rapid testing kits will go on sale for people who might think they have COVID and want to check for themselves.

But how much they will cost is still unknown.

"Hopefully we'll be able to confirm that in the next few days," Little told Magic Talk.

Listen to the full interview with Andrew Little above.

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