The rules around COVID-19 testing will change on 1st April with free testing ending for many people as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘Living with COVID-19’ plan.

In February, the Prime Minister confirmed the changes in a news conference. He said:

“Our testing programme has been a crucial part of our response to the virus. Over 2 billion lateral flow tests have been provided across the UK since 2020 ensuring people could stay safe and meet family and friends knowing they were free of the virus.

“As set out in the Autumn and Winter Plan, universal free provision of tests will end as our response to the virus changes. From the start of April, the government will end free symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public. Limited symptomatic testing will be available for a small number of at-risk groups and we will set out further details on which groups will be eligible shortly. Free symptomatic testing will also remain available to social care staff. We are working with retailers to ensure that everyone who wants to can buy a test.

“The Test & Trace programme cost £15.7 billion in 2021/22. With Omicron now the dominant variant and less severe, levels of high immunity across the country and a range of strategies in place including vaccines, treatments, and public health knowledge, the value for taxpayers’ money is now less clear. Free testing should rightly be focused on at-risk groups.

“The Government remains ready to respond if a new variant emerges and places unsustainable pressure on the NHS, through surveillance systems and contingency measures such as increased testing capacity or vaccine programmes. Our world-leading ONS survey will allow us to continue to track the virus in granular detail to help us spot any surges in the virus.”

Free LFTs are being given out at the following pop-up sites until Herefordshire Council run out of stock*:

Thursday 24 March

Friday 25 March

Saturday 26 March