Updated 14 April 2022 

Free testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) from the NHS has ended for most people in England.

What you can do instead of taking a COVID-19 test

Most people in England are no longer advised to get tested. Find out:

If you still want to get tested and you're not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself.

You can buy a COVID-19 test from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online.

Do not call 119, as you will not be able to get a test this way. You cannot order tests from NHS 111 or 999.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, and a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities

You should:

  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people
  • avoid meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine

You can go back to your normal activities if you:

  • feel well enough to do so
  • do not have a high temperature

You can find separate guidance for children and young people aged 18 or under on GOV.UK.

If you've tested positive for COVID-19

If you have COVID-19, you can pass on the virus to other people for up to 10 days from when your infection starts. Many people will no longer be infectious to others after 5 days.

You should:

  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days. This starts from the day after they did the test.
  • avoiding meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine

If a child or young person aged 18 or under tests positive for COVID-19, they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days. This starts from the day after they did the test.

Children and young people tend to be infectious to others for less time than adults. If they’re well and do not have a temperature after 3 days, there’s a much lower risk that they’ll pass on COVID-19 to others.

If you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you live with someone who has COVID-19 or stayed overnight in their household

You're more likely to catch COVID-19 if you live with or have stayed overnight in the household of someone who has the virus.

If you’ve had contact with someone who’s tested positive, it can take up to 10 days for your COVID-19 infection to develop. This means you could pass on the virus to other people, even if you do not have symptoms.

You can take steps to reduce the chance of passing COVID-19 on to others.

There’s separate guidance for children and young people aged 18 and under on GOV.UK

Other types of close contact

If you've been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 but do not live with them and have not stayed overnight in their household, follow the guidance on living safely with COVID-19 on GOV.UK.

When to seek medical advice

Go to 111.nhs.uk, call 111 or call your GP surgery if:

  • you’re worried about your symptoms
  • your symptoms get worse

In an emergency, go to A&E immediately or call 999.

If you live with someone who has COVID-19 or stayed overnight in their household

You're more likely to catch COVID-19 if you live with or have stayed overnight in the household of someone who has the virus.

If you’ve had contact with someone who’s tested positive, it can take up to 10 days for your COVID-19 infection to develop. This means you could pass on the virus to other people, even if you do not have symptoms.

You can take steps to reduce the chance of passing COVID-19 on to others.

There’s separate guidance for children and young people aged 18 and under on GOV.UK

Who can get a free NHS COVID-19 test

There are a small number of people who will still be able to get free COVID-19 tests from the NHS.

If you have a health condition which means you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments

If you have a health condition which means you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments, you should be sent a COVID-19 test to use if you have symptoms.

You can order free NHS tests yourself, if you have not received any tests yet or have used the tests you've been sent. Find out more about testing guidance and new COVID-19 treatments.

If you're going into hospital for surgery or a procedure

You may need to get tested if you're due to have surgery or a procedure. Your hospital will tell you how to get a test. Contact your hospital department if you have any questions.

If you work in the NHS or in social care

You are eligible for free tests if you're:

  • NHS patient-facing staff
  • staff who deliver NHS services through an independent healthcare provider, and have direct contact with NHS patients
  • a social worker
  • a personal assistant
  • a Shared Lives carer
  • a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspector

If you work in care homes, domiciliary care, extra care and supported living services, and adult day care centres, you can also get free NHS tests. Find out more about free NHS tests if you work in adult social care on GOV.UK

Order a free NHS COVID-19 test if you're eligible

You can get free NHS test kits sent to your home.

Order NHS home test kits on GOV.UK

If you need help with your order

If you cannot use the online service to order and you're eligible for free NHS tests, you can call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day, 7am to 11pm.

119 provides support in 200 languages.

SignVideo is a free online British Sign Language interpreter service for 119.

Support if you need to self-isolate

The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme has now ended. 

If you need more than financial help and have worries about loneliness, the effect on your mental health, shopping or childcare, we have an experienced team who can help. Please contact our community advice and support hub.

COVID-19 close contact scam alert

Some people have received suspicious text messages claiming to be from the NHS advising that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and asking you to pay for a test.

To protect yourself and your family members from fraud and criminals, please remember that the NHS will not:

  • text you and ask you to enter personal details on a link
  • call you and ask you to press buttons on a keypad
  • ask for payment or for any bank details
  • ask to come to your home 

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. 

If you are suspicious about an email, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk

If you are suspicious about a text message, forward it to the number 7726 (which is free-of-charge)

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by visiting actionfraud.police.uk or calling 0300 123 2040.

If you have any information relating to NHS COVID Pass or vaccine certificate fraud you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting CrimeStoppers online at covidfraudhotline.org or call on 0800 587 5030.

If any money has been taken from your account please contact your bank or building society immediately and let them know what's happened..

Read more about How to spot and report scam emails, texts, websites and calls from GOV.UK