Due to recent pcr test guidelines that came into effect on April 1st 2022, the prime minister confirmed the next steps for living with COVID-19.

Most people will no longer advised to test to see if they have COVID-19. However, some people are still able to access free tests.

From April 1st, most people will have to pay for a lateral flow test in England. It is part of the governments “living with covid” plan, although levels of the virus are high, with an estimated 1 in 16 people infected in the UK. Some free testing will continue during April in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In wales the cut-off is July.

The general public has been discouraged from stockpiling test packs ahead of the change. However, since the ministers announced the end of the free testing program for most of the population it has been difficult for many to access them. The updated pcr test guidelines has the government announcing the end of universal free testing is possible because vaccines are doing a good enough job. If you do however contract COVID-19 although you are no longer legally required to self-isolate it is recommended by health professionals to stay home. You should also distance yourself from others to avoid passing on the virus.

Free covid-19 tests will continue to be available to help protect specific groups including eligible patients and the NHS and care staff once the universal testing offer ends on 1st April and next steps for adult social care set out.

Individuals at high risk are eligible for treatments. They will continue to get free pcr tests to use if they develop symptoms. The NHS and adult social care staff and those in other high-risk settings will also receive free testing kits. Health and Social care secretary Sajid Javid announced this 29 March 2022.

Whoever tests positive, will still be advised to isolate to prevent spreading Covid-19 . This is so they avoid contact with other people for five days, which are when they are most infectious.

Dame jenny harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said “As we learn to live with covid, we are focusing on testing provision on those at higher risk of serious outcomes from the virus, while encouraging people to keep following simple steps to help themselves and others stay safe. Recent pcr test guidlines also suggest that people at the most risk are eligable for free testing kits.

They also went on to say “the pandemic is not over and how the virus will develop over time; this is because it remains uncertain”.    

People aged 75 and immunosuppressed are now eligible for their spring booster jab. This is to top up their immunity to COVID-19. Around 5 million people will be eligible for a spring booster around 6 months after their previous dose. New pcr test guidelines enable these individual’s to have free access.

The living with COVID plan, will enable the country to continue to move out of the pandemic. Meanwhile, protecting those at higher risk of serious outcomes from the virus through our testing regime.

For more information, visit our services regarding pcr tests.

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