Updated 23 September 2022
Testing for COVID-19 was important throughout the pandemic to identify positive cases so that we could protect ourselves and others. That has changed because protection against COVID-19 is now strong in the population due to vaccination, natural immunity and antiviral treatments.
You are no longer advised to test routinely for COVID-19. The provision of free COVID-19 tests to the general public has stopped.
Limited testing continues only for vulnerable individuals and in high-risk settings. You may be able to get a free test from the NHS if:
- you have a health condition which means you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments
- you work in healthcare or adult social care, depending on your role and whether you have symptoms
- you are going into hospital for certain types of treatment
Find out who can get a free NHS test.
If you intend to test yourself for COVID-19 and do not qualify for a free NHS test you can:
- purchase a test kit from a pharmacy or other retailer, in person or online
- use a private testing service
Visit Finding and choosing a private coronavirus test provider for guidance on testing services and a list of providers.
Stop the spread
Even without testing for COVID-19, you can continue with some simple precautions which help to stop the virus spreading:
- Get up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations, to protect yourself and others from infection and serious illness
- If you feel unwell try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people
- Wear a face covering in enclosed crowded spaces
- Let in fresh air when indoors with other people
- Wash your hands regularly