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Free packs of rapid lateral flow tests can be posted to people’s homes or collected at several places across the country. The tests involve rubbing a swab over the tonsils and inside the nose, much like a normal PCR Covid test. The rapid tests can give a result in around 30 minutes and do not have to be posted away for testing.
It is recommended people carry out a rapid test twice a week.
This is because some one in three people are unaware they have COVID-19 as they do not show symptoms, according to the NHS website.
Rapid tests can help to find cases of the virus which may previously have gone unidentified.
People who test positive on a lateral flow test for COVID-19 then need to self-isolate and order a PCR test.
Who can get lateral flow tests?
Lateral flow tests are available to order via the Government website HERE.
People can order one pack of lateral flow tests per day, which contain seven tests.
The service is open for people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and people who have not been told to self-isolate.
The service is available for people aged 11 or above, who cannot get tests from their work, school, college or university.
Once lateral flow tests have been received, the person who ordered them can provide the tests to anyone in their household too.
But if someone is ordering for another household, the Government website states people should do it separately from their household order and use the other person’s details.
Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and book a PCR test instead of a lateral flow test.
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Where else can you get lateral flow tests?
In addition to the Government website, it is possible to collect tests from some pharmacies in England.
The NHS England finder tool details places offering rapid lateral flow tests HERE.
Tests can also be obtained from a testing site to take home.
If someone chooses to collect their tests, they can collect a total of two packs at a time, which equates to 14 lateral flow tests.
Lateral flow tests can also be ordered via phone on 119 if someone cannot order them online.
Phone lines are open from 7am until 11pm and calls are free of charge.
Rapid tests are also available at lateral flow testing sites, but these may require an appointment to be booked in advance.
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