The free lateral flow or LFTs and PCR tests that are part of the UK government’s “learning to live with Covid” strategy for free COVID-19 tests will soon end. This was announced last February by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, encouraging a sense of personal responsibility toward one another.
Under the current system, anyone who does not have COVID symptoms can order lateral flow tests online for free or picked up in pharmacies and other community centres. On the other hand, those experiencing signs of COVID can request a free polymerase chain reaction or PCR test kit to be sent directly to their home. They can also opt to book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site.
When will free COVID tests stop being available?
According to the announcement made by the UK Prime Minister, the provision of the aforementioned free tests will be scrapped from April 1, 2022. It will apply to every resident in England except for elderly adults aged 75 and 12 with weakened immune systems. As the number of cases and patients admitted in hospitals continues to diminish, it is with good reason to end the free testing scheme.
Additionally, providing a free Covid-19 test to individuals is also a part of the government’s effort in pursuing living with the COVID plan. The government also considered the high cost of providing free lateral flow and PCR tests. Aside from the England, countries such as Germany and France have also put an end to universal free testing.
After April 1, people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will have to buy coronavirus tests, except for a small number of at-risk groups.
What about testing in the rest of the UK?
The Scottish government will shift to a more targeted testing system, but their existing free testing regime will be available until April. From May 1, people with COVID symptoms no longer need to take a coronavirus test. However, they will be advised to stay at home until they feel better. Furthermore, physical testing sites will close, and contract tracing will end.
Wales will maintain their existing capacity until the end of June. PCR tests will no longer be available freely, but free LFTs will still be available online for people with symptoms. Should an individual test positive, they should immediately self-isolate. Contract tracing will continue.
- Northern Ireland is yet to confirm their plans for scrapping the provision of free COVID-19 tests.
How to Get Tested?
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms across the UK can order one box of LFTs using their NHS login every three days. Such tests can be collected from pharmacies, test centres, and vaccination hubs. But before acquiring the tests, people must first register online at UK’s official website to get a collection code.
After taking the free LFTs, individuals must report the results online or call 911. Reporting results is essential because of the following:
- Reduce infection rates
- Protect people prone to a higher risk of infection
- Prevent and reduce the virus’s spread
- Find out if you are infectious
People currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can order a home PCR test kit through a reputable testing provider in the UK or book an appointment at a test site.
Are you looking for a testing provider?
Harley Medic International 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 harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.
Read More: At-home COVID tests: Why They Are Important