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How to get free coronavirus tests

Written by: Emma Lunn
A new government campaign urges public to get tested twice a week – and the tests are free.

From today, everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid Covid-19 testing. The aim is to get everyone testing for coronavirus regularly.

The free tests will be rapid lateral flow tests which give results in less than 30 minutes.

The campaign explains that by taking tests, Brits can take the ‘next step safely’, protecting loved ones, customers, workmates and friends as we continue to ‘cautiously ease restrictions’.

Campaign material also demonstrates how people can fit these free, rapid tests into their morning routine to help create a new testing habit.

Matt Hancock, health and social care secretary, said: “Around one in three people have coronavirus without any symptoms, so getting tested regularly is one of the simplest and easiest ways we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. I’d encourage everyone to take up the offer and test twice a week.

“Alongside the successful roll-out of the vaccination programme, rapid testing will be one of our most effective weapons in tackling this virus and ensuring we can cautiously reopen our economy and parts of society that we have all missed.”

From Sunday 11 April, the ‘Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air’ campaign will update to remind the public of the need to use the NHS Covid-19 app to check in to premises, including outdoor hospitality, hairdressers and gyms. This will run across digital, social, radio and out-of-home channels.

How to get free rapid Covid tests

People can get free lateral flow tests sent to their home via the government website. Tests should take two days to arrive.

You can only use this service if you live in England, are aged over 18, don’t have coronavirus symptoms, have not been told to self-isolate, and you can’t get tests from your work, school, college or university.

You can also get tests from workplace and school testing programmes or in the community. In addition, you can collect lateral flow tests from coronavirus testing sites.

You can also collect lateral flow tests from participating pharmacies. You can see which pharmacies are participating here.

If testing at home, individuals will need to register their results online or by calling 119. They should self-isolate if they get a positive result and order a confirmatory PCR test.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should book a PCR test online or by calling 119.

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