In some festive news for everyone’s nostrils, Victorians will be able to cop two free packets of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) until December 31.

The RATs will be available at any state-funded testing site, and you can cop the tests even if you don’t have a Medicare card on you.

There’s a handy list of all the sites on the Coronavirus Victoria portal, so feel free to have a cheeky scroll.

“We’re encouraging Victorians to pick up a free packet of RATs over the Christmas and New Year period to ensure they can enjoy the festive season safely with their loved ones,” said Victorian Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas in a statement.

“There are simple things people can do to enjoy the festivities safely – plan your party outside if you can, stay home if you’re sick, wear a mask if you can’t physically distance from others and stay up to date with your vaccinations.”

Concession card holders, people with a disability, those in a high risk groups and folks over 70 can already access free RATs through participating local councils.

According to the government, local councils who are currently providing free RATs to eligible people “will be supported… to provide free RATs to all Victorians until June 2023”. This will happen after Victoria’s state-run PCR testing sites close on December 31.

At the moment, Victoria’s council distribution program for RATs operates across 180 sites including libraries and community service centres. The government is planning on expanding that more in the next year.

COVID-19 cases are still high across the board, with Victoria recording 24,652 cases in the week from December 9 to December 16. However, total cases did decrease by 11 per cent from the previous week.

Over the same period New South Wales recorded a decrease of 5.2 per cent from the previous week, though it also reported PCR tests had decreased by 5.6 per cent too.

Fingers crossed the downwards trend in cases will continue. But still make sure you’re monitoring for symptoms, testing regularly and masking up whenever you can.

And hey, if you’re in Vic make the most of those free packs of RATs. It’s the ideal early Christmas pressie for yourself.

Image: iStock / Aphirak Thila