US households can again order free at-home Covid-19 tests as the government attempts to limit the spread of the virus this winter.
The White House said up to four rapid tests could be ordered from the government website CovidTests.gov.
It announced that the test program paused in September, would be restarted on Thursday, with deliveries beginning the week of December 19.
The decision comes as Covid infections rise ahead of the winter holidays.
The Biden administration began sending free at-home tests in January but stopped in September after more than 600 million tests were distributed because Congress did not approve the extra funding needed for the program to continue.
But the government is now using funding left over from the American Rescue Plan, the Covid relief bill passed last year, to pay for the tests, reported CBS.
“We feel confident that we are going to have enough tests to get through this round, four per household, in the coming weeks,” a senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday.
It is part of a broader White House plan to prepare for Covid this winter when some Americans are at an increased risk of catching the virus as they gather indoors for the holidays.
The White House said it hoped to encourage Americans to take at-home tests when symptomatic, before and after traveling for the holidays, and when visiting vulnerable individuals.
Covid cases, hospital visits, and deaths have increased in recent weeks.
Some cities are calling on Americans to wear masks again in indoor spaces to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. At the same time, White House officials have urged Americans to get the latest Covid and flu jabs.
According to the CDC, only 13.5% of those aged five and older in the US have received the updated coronavirus shot targeting the omicron variant.
Highly contagious omicron subvariants – now the dominant coronavirus strains in the US – contribute to the uptick in cases.