Covid-19: Do lateral flow tests expire, when to take a test and what are the new isolation rules in England?
CURRENT government guidelines state that a rapid test should be taken before every social event as Omicron cases continue to rise in the UK.
Many have been regularly testing for the virus through lateral flow tests which are available from pharmacies, on gov.uk and local collection sites.
Here is everything you need to know about whether the tests expire and when they need to be taken:
When should I take a lateral flow test?
Health experts and government officials have urged people without symptoms to take a lateral flow test before socialising with other households.
The NHS website states that lateral flow tests should be taken on days when it is most likely to catch or spread Covid.
People have been urged to do a test when they:
-mix with others in crowded outdoor places
-visit someone who is at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid
Rapid tests should be taken daily (one a day for seven days) if you have been in contact with someone who has the virus and you are either fully vaccinated or under 18 years old.
Large venues throughout England require a negative lateral flow test or Covid pass upon entry.
Results can be reported on the NHS website.
Do lateral flow at-home tests expire?
At-home lateral flow kits do have an expiry date and it is important to ensure that your tests have not expired as this could lead to an invalid result.
Depending on the brand, the expiry date can be found on the side or the underside of the box.
The expiry dates on the at-home testing kits range from months to years ahead.
What are the new isolation rules in England?
From Monday (January 17), those isolating will be able to end their isolation period after negative lateral flow tests on days five and six.
The self-isolation period was cut from 10 days to seven with negative tests on days six and seven last month.
Gov.uk states that by cutting the self-isolation period down to five days, essential public services will be supported and supply chains will be able to keep running over the winter.
The first test must be taken no earlier than day five of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day.
If an individual is positive on day five, a negative test will be required on days six and seven to end the isolation period.
If there is still a positive result on day six, a negative test is required on days seven and eight, and so on until the end of day 10.
Those who leave isolation on day six due to a negative result have been strongly advised to wear face coverings and limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated areas.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to fice full days in England.
‘These two tests are critical to these balanced and proportionate plans and I’d urge everyone to take advantage of the capacity we’ve built up in tests so we can restore more freedom to this country, whilst we are keeping everyone safe.’