COVID-19 testing 

Free tests for COVID-19 from the NHS ended for most people in England on 31 March 2022.

Up to date information can be found on the NHS website. You can also check for information about the advice in other parts of the UK.

The government has provided a list of approved lateral flow and PCR test providers along with contact details, should you need to buy a test. This list includes high street pharmacies.

More COVID-19 symptoms recognised

More symptoms of COVID-19 have been added to the original three of:

  1. a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  2. a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  3. a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Additional symptoms

  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • feeling sick or being sick

The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu. Read more from NHS website

Who will still get COVID testing for free?

  • Patients in hospital, where a PCR test is required for their care and to provide access to treatments
  • People who are eligible for community COVID-19 treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. People in this group will be contacted directly and sent lateral flow tests to keep at home for use if they have symptoms as well as being told how to reorder tests
  • People will also be tested before being discharged from hospital into care homes and hospices
  • A small number of care home visitors who provide personal care
  • People living  in some high-risk settings. For example, residents in care homes and extra care and supported living services. Those living in hospices, and prisons and places of detention
  • Patient-facing staff in the NHS staff and staff in hospices 
  • Adult social care services, such as homecare organisations and care homes,
  • Staff in some prisons and places of detention and in high risk domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings
A man and a woman in facemasks look at each other whilst bumping elbows.

Living with COVID-19 current guidance

  • If you have symptoms of a cold, a high temperature or feel unwell,  you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until you feel well enough to do normal activities and no longer have a high temperature.
  • Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend
  • If you have a positive COVID-19 test result stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when you are most infectious.
Picture of mother father and child in the sea

Oversees travel

People traveling to the UK

International travelers coming into the country, regardless of their vaccination status, no longer need to take COVID-19 pre-departure or arrival tests or complete passenger locator forms.

Traveling abroad from the UK

Other countries have rules about what you must do to travel there from England.

Read more about this