As the Government’s plan to ‘live with Covid’ continues to roll out, the provision of free lateral flow tests (LFT) and PCR tests is no longer available in England (as of April 1 2022).
NHS Scotland is still providing free LFT and PCR tests, though this is set to end at the end of April, according to Nicola Sturgeon.
From then forward, most people will be required to pay for their own home testing kits.
What are the types of Covid tests available?
There are two main types of tests you can take to check if you have coronavirus, but which one you use depends on why you are getting tested.
PCR tests are mainly used for people who have symptoms of Covid-19, and the sample will be sent off to a lab to be checked.
By comparison, lateral flow tests are intended for people who do not have any symptoms and are instead used for regular testing at home. These tests give instant results, unlike a PCR.
If you have symptoms of Covid-19, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible, even if the effects are only mild.
Rapid lateral flow tests are for days where you are more like to catch or spread COVID-19. That is, if you are going to:
- mix with people in crowded indoor places
- visit someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
Where can I buy lateral flow tests?
There are myriad businesses that offer LFT tests now, for varying prices, and not all are created equally.
We would advise you to stick with a recognisable brand name when purchasing your LFT.
Lloyd’s Pharmacy offers LFT for £1.89 per test, or a packet of 5 tests for £9.29, to be delivered to your home. Order from Lloyd’s Pharmacy here.
Boots Pharmacy is selling a packet for 5 tests for £9.80, to be delivered to your home. Order from Boots Pharmacy here.
If you need to bulk order, you can purchase a packet of 60 LFT tests from ExpressTest for £240. Order from Express Test here.
These Flowflex LFTs are not suitable to provide clearance for travel.
Where can I get a lateral flow test kit for travel?
If you require a ‘fit to fly’ test for travel (please check the advice on your intended destination), you need to book through a private, government-approved provider. NHS tests will not be accepted.
In most city centres, you can head to an ExpressTest testing centre, and have an-in person lateral flow test - book a test here, £35. You will receive results within 30 minutes.
Please do not travel to a testing centre if you are exhibiting symptoms of Covid
Alternatively, you can order a lateral flow test online from a government-approved provider. The below all meet the legal requirements to clear you for those destinations the require an LFT test for entry.
You can order a lateral flow test online from:
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