Lateral flow covid tests will no longer be able to be ordered free of charge from 1 April.

Following the announcement, some people are trying to stock up to avoid having to pay for rapid coronavirus tests in the near future. The government is trying to discourage stockpiling as they have added a hard reminder to their ordering system.

People trying to order are discouraged from ordering packs when trying to access them online. The message says the government “wants to make sure testing is available to the people who need it most”.

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On the NHS rapid lateral flow webpage, it says “most people without symptoms of COVID-19 do not need rapid tests”. He added that you should only take rapid tests if; you are eligible for new COVID-19 treatments, you are visiting someone who is at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, you have tested positive for COVID-19 and want to check if you are still contagious after 5 days.

If you select the no symptoms option when trying to order tests, a message will appear discouraging you from continuing. The message read: “Most tests are now required for people at high risk. In England, most people without symptoms of COVID-19 no longer need to have rapid lateral flow tests. We want to make sure testing is available for the people who need it most.”

Officials have previously said the number of free tests available each day will be capped to “manage demand” as the government reduces free tests for people in England. A UKHSA spokesperson said: “As outlined in the Living With Covid plan, from April 1 free testing will only be available to certain groups most at risk of the virus.”

They added: “In preparation for this change, the gov.uk home ordering channel is asking users to only order test kits if you are eligible for new Covid-19 treatments, work or volunteer in a high-risk environment or support people who are at higher risk of Covid-19 Testing should only be ordered after you have used all the kits you already have at home.

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