This page is for people with no symptoms. If you have symptoms, please see our symptomatic testing page.
Getting Tested When You Don’t Have Symptoms of COVID-19
What Is Lateral Flow (Asymptomatic) Testing?
When you don’t have symptoms, you’ll take a lateral flow test (LFT). You might also hear these referred to as LFDs (lateral flow devices).
Lateral flow tests are used to identify people with no symptoms. They look for proteins that are present when someone has the virus, using the same technology that is used in home pregnancy tests. They can be used at home and give results in less than thirty minutes.
LFTs are slightly less accurate than the PCR tests used for people with symptoms. Because of this, you’ll need to book a PCR test to confirm the result as soon as possible if you test positive with a lateral flow device.
Why Should I Get Tested When I Don’t Have Symptoms?
One in three people with coronavirus don’t show any symptoms. These people could be spreading the virus to others without knowing they have it, even if they’ve been vaccinated. That’s why it’s important to get tested even if you feel fine.
You may have heard people say we’re doing asymptomatic testing so we can keep cases high and continue lockdown. This is false. Regular lateral flow testing allows those with the virus to self-isolate, meaning we need fewer restrictions and can get back to normal quicker.
How to Access Tests
There are many different ways of getting tested when you don’t have symptoms:
Some people will be offered lateral flow tests by their employer. NHS staff, social care workers and school staff are all examples, but many employers are taking part. Your employer should inform you if they provide lateral flow tests.
If you’re an employer and you want to offer lateral flow testing to your employees, please email [email protected] for more info.
Anyone who attends school or college in Wales should be provided access to regular lateral flow testing. Some universities also offer this. You should contact your educational institution for more information.
Primary school-age children and below do not need to take lateral flow tests.
You can order free self-testing kits for yourself and your household for delivery to your home. Go to this link to order yours: https://test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/order-lateral-flow-kits/