AS of today, you can now take a free rapid coronavirus test twice a week – even if you don’t have symptoms.
Alongside vaccine rollout, regular testing is at the heart of plans to reopen society and the economy, helping to suppress and control the spread of variants.
Everyone in England can now access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing, the government announced on Monday, April 5.
The rule comes into force today, April 9, just days before the reopening of hospitality and non-essential shops in the second phase of the road map out of lockdown.
Updates will be made to the NHS Covid-19 app in England to incorporate the expanded testing regime.
You can access the rapid lateral flow tests (LFDs), which can provide results in around 30 minutes, for yourself and your family to use twice a week, in line with clinical guidance.
Rapid testing has so far been available to those most at risk and people who need to leave home for work, including frontline NHS workers, care home staff and residents, and schoolchildren and their families.
Now rapid testing is being offered to everyone, with people encouraged to take regular tests to help prevent outbreaks and reclaim a more normal way of life.
One in three people with Covid-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus unwittingly.
Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately.
The wider rollout aims to help the Government identify and control new coronavirus variants, and comes as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased across the UK.
Where can I get a rapid flow test?
You can get a test through a home ordering service, workplace or school testing programme, or by collecting one at a local test site.
A new “pharmacy collect” service is also being launched, which will provide an additional route to regular testing.
Those aged over 18 without symptoms will be able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of seven rapid tests to use twice a week at home.