Changes to COVID-19 testing in England from 1 April


Written by Adonis Hakk

April 15, 2022

COVID-19 Changes: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has officially ended the free mass COVID-19 testing but is still available to people included in the most vulnerable group. Others who want to get tested can pay for a Covid-19 test from a reputable testing provider.

Free testing services have closed at the following locations:

  • Pharmacies
  • Test sites
  • Community collection points such as libraries
  • Schools, including nurseries and universities

Symptomatic testing

High-risk settings such as hospitals, homes for the aged care facilities, residential facilities, detention facilities, and more are usually where infection can rapidly spread and where people at higher risk of serious illness are located. Hence, symptomatic testing remains an essential factor in the early detection of COVID-19.

Additionally, it can help lessen people exhibiting coronavirus symptoms and the impact of a potential outbreak. People included in the following groups can still avail a free coronavirus test in the UK:

  • NHS patients in hospitals who will be tested via the NHS established programme.
  • Individuals who are eligible for COVID-19 antiviral and other treatments. They will be sent a pack of tests and can request replacements if needed.
  • NHS staff and staff who are working in NHS-independent healthcare provision.
  • Adult social care staff in care homes, home care organisations, extra care and supported living settings, adult day care centers, and residents via the established organisation ordering portal.
  • Adult social care social workers, personal assistants, shared lives carers, and CQC inspectors.
  • Staff and patients in hospice.
  • Staff and detainees in prisons.
  • Staff and detainees in immigration removal centers.
  • Staff and users of high-risk domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings.

Asymptomatic testing

Should the UK experience a high prevalence, asymptomatic testing will be implemented. People included in the following will be subjected to such testing:

  • Adult social care staff and visitors who are providing personal care.
  • Hospice staff.
  • NHS patient-facing staff and funded independent healthcare provision.
  • Selected staff in prisons and other detention centres, refuges, and shelters.

Visitors to high-risk settings

Currently, most visitors are no longer required to take a COVID-19 test when going to adult social care settings, the NHS, hospice, prisons, and other detention places. Selected people will be granted coronavirus tests when visiting care homes and hospices, given that they will provide personal care.

In infrequent cases such as end-of-life visits, people with COVId-19 symptoms can be granted pass at various settings. However, they must first contact those responsible at the location before visiting under this circumstance.

If eligible, where can I order a free NHS test?

You can order a free NHS test online, one pack every three days, by visiting UK’s official government website. A pack contains seven tests. Such tests usually arrive within three days but might take longer during busy periods or holidays.

If you cannot access the online service, you can call 119, given that you meet the following conditions:

  • You are eligible to order free lateral flow tests
  • Your test pack did not arrive within five days of ordering


As the provision of free testing in England ended, most people were no longer advised to get tested. But if you want to get a Covid-19 test and are not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for one yourself. You can purchase a coronavirus test in some pharmacies, retailers, or testing providers, in person or online.

Looking for a testing provider?

Harley Medic Global is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website to learn more.

Read More: Serology Testing for COVID-19: What to Know

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