Use of PCR Tests Direction, South Australia

The Emergency Management (Use of PCR Tests) (COVID-19) Direction 2022 has been created and revokes the Emergency Management (Use of Certain Point of Care Tests) (COVID-19) Direction 2021. This Direction comes into effect at 12.01am on 13 January 2022.

The purpose of this direction is to ensure that COVID-19 PCR test resources remain available for those people displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or those who are at high risk of COVID-19 exposure and are not used in circumstances where rapid antigen tests are an appropriate alternative.

Public and private pathology service providers must ONLY test a person for COVID-19 via a PCR test, if:

  • The person is displaying the following symptoms of COVID-19:
    • cough
    • sore throat
    • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
    • runny nose
    • fever (a temperature of 37.5˚C or higher) or chills
    • acute loss of taste or smell
    • headache
    • muscle aches
    • unexplained tiredness (fatigue)
    • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • The person has been directed to undertake a COVID-19 PCR test by an authorised officer or SA Health or due to another Emergency Management Direction requirement; or
  • The person is required to test prior to interstate or overseas travel; or
  • The person has a positive result on a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test.

Other existing requirements remain.

The information above only highlights the key changes made to the Directions and does not reflect all requirements. Members of the public are encouraged to see the full Directions for further information.

All existing directions, frequently asked questions and other information can be found here:

If you require further information you can call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 between the hours of 8am to 8pm 7 days per week or go to the SA Health website at or

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