More than one million Rapid Lateral Flow Tests have been delivered into Northern Ireland in the past 48 hours with the additional tests reinforcing supplies available to the public.
While there is currently very high demand for lateral flow tests across Northern Ireland, there is no shortage of tests.
Rapid Lateral Flow Tests are available from more than 580 sites across Northern Ireland, including over 500 community pharmacies. Community pharmacies are replenished regularly and additional deliveries are being made into Northern Ireland on a regular basis. You can use the site finder to find an alternative local collection site.
Tests are also available to order online. Due to high demand, tests may be released in batches throughout the day on the online home delivery service. If you are not able to order tests immediately, please check again regularly throughout the day.
Programme Director Matt Wills said: “I would ask everyone to be patient and keep trying if they are unable to access tests immediately. We know the Omicron variant spreads rapidly and lateral flow tests are an extremely effective way to reduce transmission. Regular testing will help to reduce pressure on our health and social care services, and protect the people close to us.”
Matt Wills has also urged the public to carefully follow the instructions when they take a test as a number of different tests are now in use across Northern Ireland.
A number of new types of Rapid Lateral Flow Test will become widely available within days in Northern Ireland. Anyone ordering Rapid Lateral Flow Tests through the online home delivery service or by collecting from their local community pharmacy may receive the ACON Flowflex test kit. People who are accessing tests through their workplace may also receive the Orient Gene test kit.
He said: “There are now several different types of Lateral Flow Devices in use across Northern Ireland. It’s vital that anyone using them closely follows the instructions in their test kits. All the tests currently in circulation have been proven to accurately detect the new OMICRON variant. Both the ACON and Orient Gene tests are nasal only tests, meaning a throat swab is not required. The result is ready after just 15 minutes but the result may be inaccurate if read after 30 minutes. There are other small differences too so it’s really important to check the instructions as you complete the test.”
Under the latest guidance, anyone who is attending an event or social gathering should take a test before they go. It’s particularly important to test before visiting someone who is older or more vulnerable. Regular twice weekly testing is also encouraged.
Matt Wills concluded: “Please keep making safer choices and follow the latest guidance even if your test result is negative. The test isn’t over until you have reported your result online, and you must self-isolate if your lateral flow test is positive.”
Results should be reported online at gov.uk/report-covid19-result.
Notes to editors:
- Visit nidirect.gov.uk/testing to find out more about Lateral Flow Testing.
- One in three people with COVID-19 has no symptoms of illness. Testing can detect the virus in people who have no symptoms so they can take steps to prevent unknowingly passing COVID-19 to their loved ones. Lateral Flow Tests are particularly effective at identifying if you’re likely to be infectious to others.
- A list of more than 580 locations across Northern Ireland, including over 500 community pharmacies, where you can pick up free Lateral Flow Tests can be found at maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk.
- Tests can also be ordered online for free home delivery at gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.
- Lateral Flow Tests should only be used by those with no symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test instead.
- If your Lateral Flow Test result is positive, you should self-isolate immediately. Unless you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you no longer need to book a PCR test.
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