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Free Lateral Flow Tests Come To An End Later This Week

Free Lateral Flow Tests Come To An End Later This Week

Free lateral flow tests are being scaled back in England and will come to an end this Friday

Isobel Pankhurst

Isobel Pankhurst

From Friday 1st April lateral flow tests will no longer be available for free. The move comes as part of the government's bid to assert the UK must start learning to 'live with covid'.

The tests, which determine if you are currently contagious, will be scrapped for everyone except for care home residents, hospital patients and other vulnerable groups if they start exhibiting symptoms.

People attempting to order these free tests, before they become unavailable are being discouraged from doing so.


"Most tests are now needed for people at higher risk," according to the online ordering system.

"In England, most people without Covid-19 symptoms no longer need to take rapid lateral flow tests.

"Some people still need tests to stay safe, like NHS staff; people who are at higher risk; people who are visiting high-risk places.

"We want to make sure tests are available for people who need them most."


The decision to rollback these free tests has been criticised by leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer.

Sir Keir said: "I think ending free testing is a mistake, COVID isn't going away.

"Obviously all of us want restrictions to end but it's still important that people test if they have symptoms or if they're going to see someone vulnerable.

"If you take away free tests, that will diminish the likelihood of that and make it worse in the long run.

"It's not good to get rid of free tests on health grounds, nor is it economically the right thing to do."


Despite, the free tests being scrapped Sir Chris Whitty has urged the public and NHS staff to keep testing:

The chief medical officer for England said: "I've been clear . . . that people who've got significant symptoms that might be Covid should test and that if people test positive they should self-isolate.

"That's standard public health advice, nothing controversial, and that is the government's position."

Standard pricing for these tests has not yet been set.

At Boots, you'll be able to get a single test for £2.50 or a pack of five for £12.

Superdrug will charge £1.99 for one test or £9.79 for a pack of five bought in-store.

Lloyds is set to undercut both competitors charging £9.49 for a pack of five, and £1.89 for a single test.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Pexels

Topics: covid, News, Health