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As part of the government’s Living with COVID plan, free universal testing  (which includes lateral flow tests and PCR) ended on 1 April 2022.

Testing from 1 April 2024

From 1 April 2024 onwards, free lateral flow tests will no longer be provided for managing outbreaks in higher risk settings in England. However, free PCR testing will be continue to be used to determine the cause of acute respiratory infection outbreaks in higher risk settings, when deemed appropriate by a local UKHSA health protection team.

Those eligible for COVID-19 treatments (who are at highest risk of getting seriously ill) can still access free lateral flow tests from their local pharmacy and are encouraged to test in order to gain timely access to treatments. See a full list of who is eligible, and how to access tests.

Read full guidance on the latest testing arrangements.

If you want to get tested and you're not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test. You can buy these online and from some pharmacies and high street shops.


Information about symptoms is available on the NHS COVID-19 symptoms in adults webpage.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have COVID-19 symptoms, and either:

  • You have a high temperature
  • You do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities

Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.

Find out more about what to do if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.

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