Free testing for the public finished at the end of March, as part of the Living with Covid plan which sets out the government’s strategy to live with and manage the virus.
From today (Friday, April 1), most people ordering lateral flow tests for Covid-19 have to pay for them. For the latest details on where people can purchase test kits which will be updated as the market develops, see here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing
Certain groups will still be eligible for free testing – NHS and care staff will continue to have access to free testing, as will people at risk of serious illness from Covid-19. Under the plans set out, free symptomatic testing will be provided for:
○ People who are eligible for community Covid-19 treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from the virus. People in this group will be contacted directly and sent lateral flow tests to keep at home for use if they have symptoms as well as being told how to reorder tests; and
○ People living or working in some high-risk settings. For example, staff in adult social care services such as homecare organisations and care homes, and residents in care homes and extra care and supported living services, NHS workers and those working and living in hospices, and prisons and places of detention (including immigration removal centres), where infection needs to be identified quickly to minimise outbreaks. People will also be tested before being discharged from hospital into care homes and hospices.
Natalie Liddle, Acting Head of Service for Health Protection at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The testing sites have now closed in line with government policy, which is happening across the country. It coincides with the ending of free testing, except for certain critical groups. People with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including Covid-19, a high temperature or who feel unwell, are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until they feel well enough to resume normal activities.
“Anyone with a positive Covid-19 test result will be advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they are most infectious. We encourage people to get vaccinated and continue to remember the basics – Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air.”
Testing sites have closed in: Skegness, Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln (Joseph Banks Labs), Boston, Grantham and Gainsborough.
The government sets out the next steps for living with Covid here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-sets-out-next-steps-for-living-with-covid