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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

Rapid tests give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test.

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

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 must self-isolate. Check if people you live with need to self-isolate

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 to do at home

You can get rapid lateral flow test kits sent to your home.

Pick up tests from a pharmacy

You can collect up to 2 packs of 7 rapid tests from a local pharmacy.

Information:

From 4 October 2021, you'll need a collect code when you pick up your tests from pharmacies.

A collect code matches your details to the test kits you collect from a pharmacy.

This service will be available from 1 October 2021.

Pick up tests from test sites

Some test sites have stopped providing home test kits for collection. But you’ll still be able to pick up tests from collection points run by community organisations, like libraries.

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.

Children aged under 11 do not need to do rapid tests.

Employee and university testing

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

Report your test result

Report your result (positive, negative or void) every time you do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test at home or at work.

Read more about reporting a rapid lateral flow test result.

Page last reviewed: 16 September 2021
Next review due: 30 September 2021