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Regular rapid lateral flow coronavirus (COVID-19) tests

You can get regular rapid lateral flow tests if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Why you should get tested regularly

About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.

You should do a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days) to check if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

Even if you’re vaccinated, there’s still a chance you can pass COVID-19 on, so you should keep getting tested regularly.

About rapid tests

The test for people without symptoms of COVID-19 is called a rapid lateral flow test.

This usually involves rubbing a long cotton bud (swab) over your tonsils (or where they would have been) and inside your nose.

Tests give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test.

You can do a rapid test at home or at a rapid lateral flow test site.

Research shows rapid tests are 99.9% accurate. This means the chance of getting a false-positive result (where the result shows as positive but is actually negative) is extremely low.

If you test positive, you and anyone you live with will need to self-isolate. Find out about help and financial support while you're self-isolating.

Who can get regular rapid tests

Anyone who does not have symptoms can get regular rapid lateral flow tests to check for COVID-19.

Information:

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need a different test called a PCR test. Get a PCR test if you have symptoms of COVID-19 on GOV.UK

How to get regular rapid tests

Order tests online

If you order online, you can get rapid flow test kits sent to your home.

If you do tests at home, you'll need to report your results online or on the phone.

Pick up tests to do at home

You can pick test packs from a test collection point near you.

From 3 July 2021, some test sites will stop providing home test kits for collection. But you'll still be able to pick up tests from pharmacies and collection points run by community organisations, like libraries.

If you do tests at home, you'll need to report your results online or on the phone.

Go to a test site

You can get tested at a rapid lateral flow test site.

If you go to a test site:

  • you may need an appointment, so check before you go
  • a trained helper might be able to help you do the test
  • you'll get a text or email with the result when it's ready

School, college and nursery testing

If you attend or work at a school, college or nursery you can get rapid tests through your school, college or nursery.

You're advised to do a test twice a week.

Primary school-age children and younger do not need to test.

Employee and university testing

Some employers and universities offer rapid tests. Ask your employer or university if they provide rapid tests.

Page last reviewed: 22 July 2021
Next review due: 5 August 2021