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Rapid lateral flow coronavirus (COVID-19) tests

You can get rapid lateral flow tests if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (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

About rapid lateral flow tests

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

Rapid tests help to check if someone has COVID-19. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

Research shows rapid tests are a reliable test for COVID-19. They give a quick result and do not need to be sent to a lab.

Even if you're vaccinated, you could still catch the virus or pass it on. Doing rapid tests helps to protect yourself and others.

When to do rapid tests

Do rapid tests on days when you're more likely to catch or spread COVID-19.

For example, do a test before you:

You should also do daily rapid tests (1 a day for 7 days) if you've been in contact with someone with COVID-19 and are either:

  • fully vaccinated
  • under 18 years old

Find out more about daily testing on GOV.UK.

How to get rapid tests

Pick up tests from a pharmacy

Picking up tests from a pharmacy is the quickest way to get a rapid test for most people.

If you give the pharmacy a 'collect code' when you pick up the tests, it helps the NHS match your details to the tests. Find out about collect codes and how to get a collect code on GOV.UK

Order tests to do at home

Information:

Only order online if you cannot get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most.

Pick up tests from a community collection point

You can get up to 2 packs of 7 rapid tests from some community places, like libraries.

Find your local council on GOV.UK to find the location of these places and other walk-in and pop-up collection points.

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: 20 January 2022
Next review due: 3 February 2022