Last reviewed 6 April 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that everyone in England, including those without symptoms, will be able to take a free rapid lateral flow test (LFT) for Covid-19, twice a week.
As good progress on the vaccine programme continues to be made, and regular rapid testing has become even more important to ensure those efforts are not wasted, free rapid tests will now be offered to everyone across England.
Updates will be made to the NHS Covid-19 app in England to coincide with the universal testing offer.
One in three people with Covid-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus without knowing it. The rapid testing can detect cases quickly so that people with positive results can isolate immediately and reduce onward transmission.
So far, rapid testing has 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 school children and their families.
Thousands of businesses in England have also registered their interest to provide rapid tests to their employees, and free testing is being expanded to companies with over 10 workers where on-site testing is impossible.
The expanded regular testing for people without symptoms will be delivered through a home ordering service, which allows people to order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to their home.
It is also available through workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home; community testing offered by all local authorities; collection at a local PCR test site during specific test collection time windows; and testing on-site at schools and colleges.
A new “Pharmacy Collect” service is being launched, which will provide an additional route to regular testing. People 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.
The best route for testing can be found here.
If the test has been carried out at home, individuals will need to register the results online or by calling 119, and should self-isolate immediately if the result is positive, and order a confirmatory PCR test.