How much will lateral flow and PCR testing cost? What we know about Covid test prices when free testing ends



The government will stop providing free sidestream testing from April 1 – and is already discontinuing the service.

It comes as part of Boris Johnson’s “Living with Covid” planafter which the legal requirement for self-isolation has also been scrapped in England – although there is still guidance to do so.

People who order free Covid tests online are asked to declare that they will not resell them at a profit, amid fears that a black market might emerge when the deadline approaches.

Everyone will soon be forced to pay to check if they have the virus.

Here’s how much testing will cost after the free delivery ends.

Where can I buy Covid tests?

The government has one approved list of providers of lateral flow and PCR testing, which you can find herealong with contact information.

If you use one of these approved providers, you will be able to report your result on Government website here.

You do not need an approved provider, but if you do not, you will not be able to register your result.

The government says tests that are not on its approved list may not meet the minimum standards either.

You can order tests online or pick them up at a local pharmacy, including chains like Boots and Superdrug.

More about Covid-19

How much do they cost?

Lateral flow tests are significantly cheaper than PCRs, but even the cost of lateral flows can vary greatly from dealer to dealer.

Boots sell the units for £ 2.50 each or £ 12 for a pack of five, or £ 17 for a pack of four with the added option of sending results to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Elsewhere on the main street, a Healgen lateral flow test costs £ 1.99 at Superdrug, which also sells a five-pack from Flowflex for £ 9.79.

At the leading Covid test provider Randox, a package with three lateral flow tests can be purchased for £ 15, and a package with 12 lateral flow tests is on sale for £ 47.50.

At online retailer 0 Covid Clear, another publicly traded provider, prices for a single lateral flow test start at £ 14.99 and a single PCR test will set customers £ 69 back.

The best thing to do is shop around to find the best deal for you.

Lateral flow tests could end up costing nursing home visitors £ 73 a month, a leading UK charity has said.

James White, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Over the past two years, we have consistently heard many tragic stories from families struggling to visit loved ones in nursing homes. Too many people with dementia this isolation has led to a significant deterioration of their condition and mental health.

“When infection rates rise again, the government should provide free sidestream testing to all visitors to nursing homes so that families are not put in a painful position where they are forced to ration visits, leaving people with dementia again isolated and alone.”

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