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Australians able to test themselves for COVID-19 at home from November

Home COVID-19 tests will be made available in Australia from 1 November following a recommendation from the health regulator.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration says the rapid antigen testing will be made available in a matter of weeks, subject to final tests and approvals.

There have been more than 70 expressions of interest for home testing kits to be approved in Australia, with 33 of those being approved for supervised use.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the new testing was a critical step forward.

“This is an important additional protection for Australians,” Mr Hunt told reporters on Tuesday.

“One of the important things is that we can supplement what is known as PCR testing – the testing that we all know if we go to a Commonwealth or a state clinic – with the home testing.”

In a statement, the administration said the introduction of self-testing was dependent on achieving higher levels of vaccinations across the country.

A spokesman said the states and territories would also need to have established systems in place for people to report positive self-test results, should they have COVID-19.

Those who tested positive from a self-test would then be directed to undergo a second test at a health clinic, the TGA said.

Rapid antigen tests are already used widely in Europe and the United States and can provide a result within 20 minutes.

Recent vaccine statistics have shown more than 76 per cent of Australians aged over 16 have received their first dose, while 52.6 per cent have received both doses.