Regular symptom free testing
Everyone can now access free, rapid coronavirus tests for themselves and their families to use twice a week. Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, regular testing is going to be an essential part of the easing of restrictions as it will help quickly suppress the spread of variants.
If you have symptoms you must self isolate immediately and book at PCR test
What is rapid testing
Rapid testing is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19, but who may still be spreading the virus. Taking a rapid test (also called a Lateral Flow Test or LFT) involves taking a sample from the back of the throat near the tonsils and from the nose, using a swab. The swab is dipped into an extraction solution. This is then dripped on to the device's paper pad, producing the reaction that gives the result. The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes. Those who test positive must immediately self-isolate to avoid passing the virus on to others.
Why should I get tested
Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms but can still infect others. You are at higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 in crowded and enclosed spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious and there is limited fresh air. Even if you are vaccinated you can still pass on the COVID-19 virus.
Take a rapid lateral flow test if you expect there will be a period of high risk that day, particularly if you are visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they become infected. Taking a free rapid lateral flow test before a period of high risk will give you peace of mind that you are unlikely to be infectious with COVID-19, and it is unlikely you will spread the virus. If you test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.
Take a follow up PCR test to confirm your result and check if people you live with need to self-isolate. In addition to testing, you should get vaccinated and continue to take other preventative measures such as regular hand washing, wearing a face mask and when meeting people indoors keeping a window open to ventilate the space and reduce your risk of catching and spreading the virus.
Where can I collect tests from
- For more information on how to order a test kit, collect from a pharmacy or local pick up point visit the NHS website
Where else can I access testing
- Many business now offer workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home
- Through your school or college