People who feel unwell told ‘stay home’ under new guidance as free tests scrapped

Free testing for the general public ends on Friday as part of the Living with Covid plan which last month set out the government’s strategy to live with and manage the virus

An ill person in bed
People who have a high temperature will be told to try and stay home (file photo)

People who feel unwell will be told to stay home and avoid contact with others after April 1 when free Covid tests are scrapped for most people.

Free testing for the general public ends on Friday as part of the Living with Covid plan which last month set out the government’s strategy to live with and manage the virus.

«From 1 April, updated guidance will advise people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including Covid-19, and a high temperature or who feel unwell, to try stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature,» the Department of Health and Social Care says.

«Until this date, people should continue to follow the current guidance.»

Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should also stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can.

They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend.







The advice is to avoid others for five days
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Image:

Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

From April 1, anyone with a positive Covid-19 test result will be advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious.

Advice will be provided for individuals who need to leave their home when they have symptoms or have tested positive, including avoiding close contact with people with a weakened immune system, wearing a face-covering and avoiding crowded places.

Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: «As we learn to live with Covid, we are focusing our testing provision on those at higher risk of serious outcomes from the virus, while encouraging people to keep following simple steps to help keep themselves and others safe.

«The pandemic is not over and how the virus will develop over time remains uncertain. Covid still poses a real risk to many of us, particularly with case rates and hospitalisations on the rise. That is why it is sensible to wear a mask in enclosed spaces, keep indoor spaces ventilated and stay away from others if you have any symptoms of a respiratory illness, including Covid.







Free testing for the general public ends on Friday (file photo)
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Image:

In Pictures via Getty Images)

«Vaccination remains the best way to protect us all from severe disease and hospitalisation due to Covid infection. If you have not yet come forward for your primary or booster I would urge you to do so straight away – the NHS vaccine programme is there to help you and the sooner you are vaccinated the sooner you and your family and friends will be protected.»

Under the plans set out free symptomatic testing will be provided for:

  • Patients in hospital, where a PCR test is required for their care and to provide access to treatments and to support ongoing clinical surveillance for new variants
  • People who are eligible for community Covid-19 treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19. People in this group will be contacted directly and sent lateral flow tests to keep at home for use if they have symptoms as well as being told how to reorder tests
  • People living or working in some high-risk settings. For example, staff in adult social care services such as homecare organisations and care homes, and residents in care homes and extra care and supported living services, NHS workers and those working and living in hospices, and prisons and places of detention (including immigration removal centres), where infection needs to be identified quickly to minimise outbreaks. People will also be tested before being discharged from hospital into care homes, hospices, homelessness settings and domestic abuse refuges.






Testing will be provided for residential SEND, care home staff and residents during an outbreak and for care home residents upon admission (file photo)
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

Asymptomatic lateral flow testing will continue from April in some high-risk settings where infection can spread rapidly while prevalence is high.

This includes patient-facing staff in the NHS and NHS-commissioned Independent Healthcare Providers, staff in hospices and adult social care services, such as homecare organisations and care homes, a small number of care home visitors who provide personal care, staff in some prisons and places of detention and in high risk domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings.

Testing will be provided for residential SEND, care home staff and residents during an outbreak and for care home residents upon admission.

This also includes some staff in prisons and immigration removal centres.

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