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How to get COVID-19 lateral flow tests to stop the spread of coronavirus.

First published:
4 March 2021
Last updated:

Overview

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

Getting tested regularly is one way to know if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps break the chain of transmission and limits the spread of the virus.

Rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs) are only for people who do not have coronavirus symptoms.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms you need to book a PCR test (on gov.uk).

You should still get tested if you have been vaccinated. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, there’s still a chance you can contract COVID-19 and pass it on.

When to do a lateral flow test

Lateral flow tests are available, free of charge. You are encouraged to take tests twice a week if you are:

  • not fully vaccinated 
  • classed as vulnerable
  • in close contact with a vulnerable person
  • spending time in a higher risk environment

Examples of situations where it is beneficial to use rapid lateral flow tests:

  • you are a volunteer
  • you cannot work from home
  • you are an unpaid carer
  • you are visiting Wales from elsewhere
  • you are travelling to other areas of Wales or the UK
  • your health board requires testing before hospital visits
  • you or your partner are using hospital maternity services
  • you are the parent, carer or guardian of a child in hospital
  • you are going to an event that requires it
  • you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and/or been pinged by the app and wish to undertake additional tests alongside the PCR tests advised at day 2 and day 8

Reporting your results

It’s important to report your test result as soon as you can, whether it’s positive, negative or void. You can report your results on gov.uk or by calling 119. It means new outbreaks are identified and we understand how the tests are being used.

How to get lateral flow tests

Anyone who does not have symptoms can get regular rapid lateral flow tests to check for COVID-19. 

The tests are free.

You can get a lateral flow test:

School, college and nursery testing

During term-time, if you attend or work at a school, college or nursery you will get rapid tests through your school, college or nursery.

You're advised to do a test twice a week and report the results.

During the  school holidays, if you would like to continue regularly testing should continue to do so. You can get tests from the channels described in the how to get lateral flow test section.

Primary school-age children and younger do not need to test.

Employee and university testing

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

How the tests work