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Big COVID testing changes are coming- here’s what you need to know

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In Scotland, from April 18, changes are coming to the way we deal with COVID symptoms, and how we go about testing and following procedures, which are changing again from May 1, 2022. 

From the 18th of April, lateral flow tests will no longer be free to average members of the public. Until the end of April, NHS workers and those deemed to be working on the front lines of healthcare can still get free lateral flow tests due to the nature of their job. Those in high risk situations within their job can still apply for free lateral flow tests. 

Those asked to test themselves for COVID, i.e. hospital patients or those visiting vulnerable individuals in a care home or hospital, will still be able to access free lateral flow tests until the end of April also. 

With regards to the procedure to follow if you have COVID symptoms, until the end April 30,people people symptoms should isolate and book themselves a PCR test as usual, whether ordering to the home or going to a test site. 

Vaccinated close contacts of positive cases should, until April 30, test themselves daily with lateral flow tests for 7 days, as usual. 

However, from May 1, people will COVID symptoms will no longer be required to test themselves, whether a PCR test or a lateral flow test. This is an attempt to start getting “back to normal” as COVID hopefully becomes endemic as opposed to being at epidemic levels. 

This is obviously a massive change to procedure, and comes with a set of advantages and disvantages for people. Most noticeably however, is that individuals are nowhere near as protected when off their work with COVID, and individuals may feel they have to come in to work or get in trouble. 

Physical test sites are also to close from May 1,marking a drastic directional change in the way we deal with COVID. 

Track and trace is also ending, with the Scottish government sending the message that COVID is firmly getting put behind us due to the vaccination rate amongst the population. 

Featured Image Credit: Interior Health

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