Lateral flow tests: These are the changes to Covid-19 testing in England from April 1

The Government has issued updated guidance on coronavirus testing in England ahead of changes on Friday, April 1.

Information on who can access free Covid-19 tests from this date, and how those eligible can get them, has been provided for both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing settings.

Those who are not eligible to receive free tests will still be able to buy them from pharmacies, supermarkets and online.

Symptomatic testing: Who is eligible for free lateral flow tests when they have Covid-19 symptoms?

The Government says that symptomatic testing will contiue in high-risk settings to protect the most vulnerable and those who may be at higher risk of serious illness.

Free tests for those with Covid symptoms will be provided to the following groups in a variety of ways:

*NHS patients in hospital; via the established NHS testing programme

Changes to Covid testing in England come into force this Friday (April 1). Picture: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images.

*Those eligible for Covid antiviral and other treatments; they will be sent tests and can also request replacements

*NHS staff and staff working in NHS-funded independent healthcare provision; via the current lateral flow test ordering portal

*Adult social care staff in care homes, homecare organisations, extra care and supported living settings and adult day care centres; via the current ordering portal

*Residents in care homes and extra care and supported living settings; via the established organisation ordering portal

*Adult social care social workers, personal assistants, Shared Lives carers and CQC inspectors; via the current online lateral flow ordering system

*Staff and patients in hospices; tests will be supplied by the hospice

*Staff and detainees in prisons and other places of detention; tests will be supplied in-house

*Staff and detainees in immigration removal centres; tests will be supplied by the organisation

*Staff and users of high-risk domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings

Asymptomatic testing: Who is eligible for free lateral flow tests when they DON’T have Covid-19 symptoms?

Asymptomatic testing will continue to mitigate Covid risk in certain settings, during periods of high prevalence for the virus.

These are:

*Adult social care staff and visitors providing personal care

*Hospice staff

*Patient-facing staff in the NHS and NHS-funded independent healthcare provision

*Some staff in prisons and other places of detention, and some refuges and shelters

Meanwhile, care home outbreak testing for all staff and residents will also continue throughout 2022.

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