EVERYONE in England will be able to access free rapid Covid-19 tests from Friday, April 9.

Anyone will be able to access the lateral flow tests (LFDs) for themselves and their families to use twice a week.

The government said alongside the vaccine rollout, regular testing is “at the heart of plans to reopen society and the economy, helping to suppress and control the spread of variants.”

Here’s what you need to know.

What is rapid testing?

A rapid lateral flow test is a coronavirus test you do yourself. It shows you the result on a handheld device that comes with the test.

Rapid testing has so far been available to those most at risk and people who need to leave home for work, including frontline NHS workers, care home staff and residents, and schoolchildren and their families.

Why do we need to do them?

With one in 3 people with COVID-19 not displaying any symptoms, they may be spreading the virus unwittingly.

Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning anyone with a positive result can isolate immediately.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), since rapid testing was introduced, over 120,000 positive cases that would not have been found otherwise have already been identified by lateral flow tests.

Who are the tests for?

The lateral flow tests – which can provide results in around 30 minutes – will be available to anyone, regardless of whether they are showing Covid-19 symptoms.

How do I get a rapid test?

The regular testing offer for people without symptoms will be delivered via:

  • a home ordering service, which allows people to order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to their home
  • workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home
  • community testing, offered by all local authorities
  • collection at a local PCR test site during specific test collection time windows
  • testing on-site at schools and colleges

A new Pharmacy Collect’ service is also launching which will provide an additional route to regular testing. People aged over 18 without symptoms will be able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of seven rapid tests to use twice a week at home.

Which pharmacies are offering a home kit collection service?

According to the NHS website, the following local pharmacies are offering this service:

  • Canford Heath Pharmacy - 9 Mitchell Road, Canford Heath, Poole, BH17 8UE
  • Colehill Pharmacy - 42 Middlehill Road, Colehill, Wimborne, BH21 2SE
  • Parley Cross Pharmacy - 143 New Road, Parley Cross, Ferndown, BH22 8EB
  • The Grove Pharmacy - Fairmile Road, Fairmile, Christchurch, BH23 2FQ
  • Castle Lane Pharmacy - 482 Castle Lane West, Bournemouth, BH8 9UD
  • Sandford Pharmacy - 19 St Helen's Road, Sandford, Wareham, BH20 7AX
  • Rexpharm Services Limited - Knobcrook Road, Wimborne, BH21 1NL
  • Wellbeing Pharmacy - 66 High Street, Sturminster Marshall, Wimborne, BH21 4AY
  • Lytchett Pharmacy - 16 High Street, Lytchett Matravers, Poole, BH16 6BG
  • Tesco Pharmacy - Yarrow Road, Mannings Heath, Poole, BH12 4NX
  • Bryant Pharmacy - 462 Ashley Road, Parkstone, Poole, BH14 0AD
  • Tesco Pharmacy - Ferndown District Centre, Ferndown, BH22 9TH
  • Wallisdown Pharmacy - 337 Wallisdown Road, Poole, BH12 5BU
  • Winton Pharmacy - 309 Wimborne Road, Winton, Bournemouth, BH9 2AB
  • Vantage Pharmacy - 95 Poole Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth, BH4 9BB
  • Arrowedge Chemist - 62 Poole Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth, BH4 9DZ
  • Holdenhurst Pharmacy - 5 Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8EH
  • Queens Park Pharmacy - 386 Holdenhurst Road, Queens Park, Bournemouth, BH8 8BL
  • Wessex Pharmacies - 94 Mudeford, Christchurch, BH23 4AS
  • Highcliffe Pharmacy - 344-346 Lymington Road, Highcliffe, Christchurch, BH23 5EY

How do I get a home test kit sent to me?

To order a rapid lateral flow home test kit, visit https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

Where can I book a test?

You can book your LFD at the following sites in the Dorset Council area:

In the BCP Council area:

Two booking options are available – either choose a six-week block booking option or book individual slots:

How accurate are the tests?

A statement on the government website reads: “Recent analysis from NHS Test and Trace shows that for every 1,000 lateral flow tests carried out, there is less than 1 false positive result. LFDs detect cases with high levels of virus and are very effective in finding people who don’t have symptoms but are very likely to transmit the disease.”

What’s Boris Johnson said?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Massive efforts have been made by the British public to stop the spread of the virus.

“As we continue to make good progress on our vaccine programme and with our roadmap to cautiously easing restrictions underway, regular rapid testing is even more important to make sure those efforts are not wasted.

“That’s why we’re now rolling out free rapid tests to everyone across England – helping us to stop outbreaks in their tracks, so we can get back to seeing the people we love and doing the things we enjoy.”