Health Minister Robin Swann has emphasised that free Rapid Lateral Flow Tests are available online and from a network of local pharmacies.
And he underlined the importance of using Rapid Lateral Flow Tests regularly to help keep family and friends safe this winter.
The Minister stressed that using Lateral Flow Tests does not remove the need to follow other important public health requirements.
“Lateral flow tests should be seen as another line of defence against the virus. We also need to keep making safer choices in our daily lives. That includes vaccination, wearing face coverings, meeting up outdoors or in well ventilated settings, limiting our contacts and washing hands frequently and well,” the Minister said.
“By limiting contacts, I mean focusing on quality not quantity of contacts – prioritising the people that mean most to us and taking all those steps that can help keep us safe.”
By taking a Lateral Flow Test before you meet up, you can help protect the people close to you and reduce the pressures on health and social care services.
Anyone who is meeting friends or family, or attending an event or social gathering, is advised to take a test before they go. It’s particularly important to test before visiting or meeting someone who is older or more vulnerable. Regular twice weekly lateral flow testing is also encouraged.
You should also take a Lateral Flow Test before travelling home to Northern Ireland from GB or RoI.
It is vital to report every result online, even if it’s negative. This helps us track the spread of the virus, identify areas of concern, and provide support in communities that need it. Results should be reported online at gov.uk/report-covid19-result. Over one million Lateral Flow Test results have already been reported in Northern Ireland during the pandemic.
Free Lateral Flow Tests are available from a range of convenient sources, including:
- Online home delivery
- Collection at over 580 sites across Northern Ireland, including over 500 community pharmacies
- Workforce testing schemes
If you have symptoms, please self-isolate and book a PCR test. If your Lateral Flow test is positive, self-isolate and book a PCR test.
One in three people with COVID-19 has no symptoms of illness. Rapid 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. The emergence of the omicron variant underlines the importance of Rapid Lateral Flow Testing.