How to get rapid Covid tests as UK faces worrying shortage

The urgent need for lateral flow tests is leaving thousands waiting as stocks are set to replenish.

Covid-19 infections surged in the run-up to Christmas and continue to as people were urged to test regularly in order to limit the spread of the virus.

But many have struggled to get their hands on testing kits.

Testing kits have been running out almost as soon as they become available on the GOV.UK website.

The shortage could threaten New Year’s Eve safety as England is expected to continue into 2022, without new restrictions

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One leading scientist has warned that New Year’s gatherings would provide “perfect conditions for the virus to spread, PA News Agency reports.

Professor Peter Openshaw, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said to the BBC: “We know the situations in which transmission happens and fortunately I don’t think we are facing the sort of lockdown that was necessary in order to cope in the very earliest part of this year.

“But we do know that crowding together in poorly ventilated spaces, particularly if you are shouting over loud music and so on, is absolutely perfect in terms of transmitting this very, very highly transmissible virus.”

The UK Health Security Agency said almost eight million test kits are expected to be made available to pharmacies by New Year’s Eve, in a statement on Wednesday, December 29.

Rapid testing kit
The UKHSA say millions more test kits will be made available from pharmacies.
(Image: Getty)

Here is how you can find available rapid tests where you are.

How to get tests from a local pick-up point

Picking up tests from a local pharmacy can be a quicker alternative to booking online.

To do so, you need a collection code that you can get on the Government website here. While collection codes are not mandatory they are encouraged.

In Leicester and the wider county numerous pharmacies and community buildings, such as libraries, are listed as available sites.

Take a rapid test at a dedicated centre

A rapid test site is based at Fosse Neighbourhood Centre in Mantle Road in the city’s West End.

The facility was set up by Leicester City Council in 2020, specifically for not those who do not have symptoms.

Anyone planning to mix with others for New Year’s celebrations will be able to visit the site for a supervised rapid test before 5pm on December 30 and 31.

Standard opening hours for the site are 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. The site will be closed on New Year’s Day until January 3, 2022.

Community testing in the county

Elsewhere, Leicestershire County Council has been providing tests via its mobile testing vans which visit different locations.

Community groups and businesses can also request for a lateral flow to be present at local events.

The vans have not been running over the festive period but the county council will update its social media channels with the most recent information in due course

What about PCR tests?

There has been a reported shortage of PCR tests in some areas with the Government website showing only limited walk-through testing sites available.

Alternatively, tests can be ordered online and sent to your address for at-home testing.

Some sites are still running locally but are subject to availability upon booking, depending on your postcode.

Leicestershire Live – Leicester News