A week ahead of the UK government’s plans to scrap the provision of free lateral flow tests or LFTs, there have been reported struggles about ordering such tests. It includes complaints across social media platforms about how people ordered online and then found out lateral flow COVID test kits were not available in their area. One of the primary reasons for the shortage of such tests is the sudden rise in cases across the UK.
When did the lateral flow tests stop being free?
The UK government has stopped providing free Covid-19 tests since April 1. However, lateral flow tests will remain free for care home residents, hospital patients, frontline NHS staff, and people in vulnerable groups should they exhibit coronavirus symptoms.
For business entities, employers are responsible for paying for a coronavirus test for their testing regime if they decide to continue the routinely checking if employees have COVID-19.
Can I still order free lateral flow tests?
As the provision of free COVID lateral flow tests has ended in the UK, only certain groups are eligible to obtain one. If you still qualify, you can order online or by calling 119. People in the community Covid drug treatment are still qualified for a free Covid-19 test as they are considered at higher risk if they acquire the virus.
While free testing is not currently available for the general public, the government said it would expand its testing system should emergencies arise, such as the emergence of a new variant of concern. For travel purposes, LFTs are not acknowledged by airlines and other territories. Travellers must purchase a private fit to fly COVID test.
If qualified, how do I order free LFTs online?
You will need to visit the UK government’s official website and provide an email address. After ordering, an email will be sent confirming your order. Consequently, you will also receive an email or text from Royal Mail detailing how to track your order or change the delivery address.
Eligible individuals who can order LFTs online can get one pack every three days. A single pack contains seven tests. Such tests usually arrive within three days but might take longer during holidays and busy periods.
What if I cannot access the online service?
If you cannot use the online service or if the test pack you ordered online did not arrive five days after ordering, you have the option to call 119. Calls are free of charge from mobile and landlines. Accordingly, lines are open daily from 7 am to 11 pm.
Any problems with the test kits, such as missing or damaged tests, can be addressed by calling 119. You must not use any test kit if any part is missing or damaged.
How do LFTs work?
Taking a lateral flow test sample includes swabbing the back of the throat or nose, most commonly from the nose. Results can be interpreted in 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of LFT used. Before conducting the test, ensure to read and understand the test kit instructions to learn how much time is needed before reading the result.
Where can I get a private COVID test kits?
The UK government has a list of private test providers. Harley Medic International is one of the reputable government-approved testing providers in the country. 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 harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.
Read More: At-home COVID tests: Why They Are Important