When do free lateral flow tests end? Government set to scrap free Covid tests for most people

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that free lateral flow and PCR tests will be withdrawn, as part of the government’s “learning to live with Covid” strategy.

Johnson is expected to give more information at a press conference later today (February 21st). The requirement to self-isolate after a positive coronavirus test is also set to be scrapped in England, possibly as early as this Thursday.

The announcement has been met with some criticism, including from the Labor Party. But when are free lateral flow tests likely to end?

READ MORE: What time is Boris’ announcement today?

When do free lateral flow tests end?

The government hasn’t yet given an exact date for when free lateral flow tests will end, although it is expected to happen within the coming months.

Business Minister Paul Scully defended the decision to withdraw free coronavirus tests, saying that it was unsustainable to keep spending £2 billion a month on providing free tests.

But some groups will continue to be eligible for free tests, according to reports, including older people and the clinically vulnerable.

Can I still get free lateral flow tests?

You can still order a pack of free lateral flow tests via the government’s site, or by calling 119 between 7am and 11pm. Calls to 119 are free of charge.

Each pack contains seven lateral flow tests, and you’re allowed to order one pack every three days. Packs should be delivered to you within three days of ordering them.

If you experience a high temperature, a new and continuous cough or changes to your taste of sense and smell, you can order a free PCR test from Gov.UK.

You can arrange to have the test kit sent to you, or you can book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through testing centre.

Who will be eligible for free Covid tests?

When the new rules come into effect, free lateral flow and PCR tests are expected to be restricted to groups most at risk from the coronavirus.

Reports say that free tests will continue to be made available to older people, clinically vulnerable groups and some key workers.

However, they will no longer be available to the wider public. Walk-in testing centers are also expected to be closed in a cost-cutting measure.

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