The US has restarted its free at-home Covid-19 testing service, as the government attempts to limit the spread of the virus over the winter months.
Covid hospitalisations have been increasing in the last few weeks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The tests will be able to detect a new strain of the virus, which has now been reported in several US states.
Americans will be able to request four free rapid antigen tests.
The government website to request Covid tests was launched in January 2022, but the programme ended earlier in 2023 to conserve supplies.
The Biden administration said the programme previously distributed 755 million free Covid-19 tests through the United States Postal Service.
When the public health emergency ended in May, many insurance companies stopped covering the costs of tests leaving people to pay out of pocket.
There were 20,538 hospitalisations from 3 September to 9 September, about an 8% increase from the previous week, according to the CDC’s Covid-19 tracker.
The test kits are intended for use through the end of 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said.
There will also be instructions on how people can verify extended test expiration dates because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously issued guidance suggesting that shelf life is longer than what original packaging states.
Last week, the Biden administration announced an investment of $600m (£491m) to 12 domestic Covid-19 test manufacturers.
The administration expects a supply of about 200 million tests to come from those companies.
Source : BBC