Rapid antigen tests (or RATs) cost somewhere between $10 and $25 per test in Australia. If you can find them, of course.
Australia is not the only nation experiencing issues with COVID-19 testing. As the Omicron variant takes hold, testing rates are surging the world over.
However, not all have decided on the approach of the Australian government. Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week said rapid antigen tests would not be subsidised for everyone, despite widespread shortages and reports of price hikes.
"We've invested hundreds of billions of dollars getting Australia through this crisis," Mr Morrison told Channel Seven on Monday.
"But we're now in a stage of the pandemic where you can't just make everything free because, when someone tells you they want to make something free, someone's always going to pay for it and it's going to be you."
Other countries are doing just this.
In the UK, the government has mailed free RATs to people's homes since April. The tests are provided by the National Health Service, the UK's equivalent of Medicare.
The NHS website also states that tests, often referred to as rapid flow tests, are available from pharmacies, online and at community collection points such as libraries.
People also are advised to get tested twice a week at their school, college or nursery.
In the United States, the federal agency of the Health Department granted emergency use authorisation to a growing number of rapid at-home COVID-19 tests that are available direct to shoppers, without a prescription, in pharmacies and online. Most at-home kits cost between $US10 and $US35 and come with two tests - that's a top price of $AU48 for two tests.
President Joe Biden has announced plans to reimburse people for at-home tests and to make 500 million tests free and available to the public, but those plans have not yet been implemented. Biden has stated that people will not be reimbursed for tests purchased before those changes are made official.
In France, RATs are free for the fully-vaccinated and those with prescriptions. Unvaccinated people and tourists have to pay for tests, which cost $AU45.
In Canada, while RAT kits are available for free in some spots, not every province or territory in Canada has made them widely available. Some Canadians are being asked to pay upwards of $AU43 to get tested at a pharmacy.
Eligible Canadians need to satisfy guidelines, the government website says:
- if you are an incorporated business
- have 10 to 199 employees
- are in an industry that is currently open under provincial guidelines
Only some people in Germany are eligible for free COVID-19 antigen tests free of charge under new rules aimed at encouraging more vaccinations.
The schnelltests (rapid tests) which were taxpayer-funded since March 2021 - have to be paid for by most people out of their own pocket for the past three months.
The tests are free for some groups, including children under the age of 12 and people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons.
Meanwhile, Australia's consumer watchdog has promised to crack down on "appalling" price gouging of COVID-19 rapid tests amid a nation-wide shortage.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has set up a team to investigate issues with supply, costs and pricing and will report back in a matter of weeks.