Lateral flow testing for Covid to be available into August in Northern Ireland

Lateral flow testing will continue to be available for people with Covid-19 symptoms into August, Health Minister Robin Swann has announced.

By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 2:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 2:19 pm

The move follows his earlier decision to extend availability until the end of July.

Mr Swann said Covid continues to contribute to severe pressure in hospitals, adding: “Whilst indications are that we are moving in the right direction with regard to the trajectory of the pandemic and that prevalence is reducing, it is vital that we keep the situation under review.

“Thankfully the overall risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death for those who contract Covid-19 continues to be much lower than during previous waves.

Lateral Flow Testing

“However, we continue to see severe pressures in our hospitals and the contribution of Covid-19, even though admission numbers are smaller than in previous waves, adds to these pressures.

“After careful consideration therefore I have decided to extend the current availability of lateral flow testing, including for those with symptoms, for a further short period, as a precautionary measure.”

Lateral flow tests are available to members of the public with Covid-19 symptoms, including those who may be eligible for treatments.

Tests are also available to a small number of groups without symptoms including health and social care staff, people visiting others in health and care settings, and those providing close personal care to someone at higher risk should they contract Covid.

Mr Swann said the position will be kept under review with further announcements in August as necessary.

Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 infection rates remain “stubbornly high” and are likely to increase again later in the year, chief medical officer Sir Michael McBride said recently.