Key dates and changes
- Wednesday 30 March: Testing sites for people with symptoms will close and Mobile Testing Units will cease operating.
- Thursday 31 March: Targeted Community Testing for those without symptoms will cease.
- From 1 April: The Government will no longer provide free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England. Anyone wishing to get tested will be able to purchase an LFD test from pharmacies.
The changes to testing are part of the Government’s ‘Living with COVID’ plan, which has been made possible largely thanks to the successful vaccination programme that has put the UK in a strong position to now treat Coronavirus like other respiratory diseases.
Hampshire County Council Leader and Chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, Councillor, Keith Mans said: “The testing programme has played a vital role in tackling COVID-19. In addition to the many tests ordered directly by the public, we have distributed over 650,000 individual LFDs through our Targeted Community Testing programme and carried out more than 116,000 supervised LFD tests at asymptomatic testing sites – helping residents stay safe.
“While we are changing the way we manage COVID, the virus is still circulating and I want to reassure residents that our Public Health team, working closely with UK Health Security Agency, the NHS and other partner organisations, will continue to monitor outbreaks, and should things change, we will take appropriate actions as required to limit any future impact the virus could have on our county.”
Limited free symptomatic testing will continue for a small number of at-risk groups and will also remain available to social care staff. Guidance on testing arrangements for visitors to care homes is provided on the gov.uk webpages. The advice is to discuss visiting arrangements with care settings in advance.
Councillor Mans added: “As we learn to live with COVID-19, it’s important we continue to do all that we can to protect our families and communities – particularly those at the greatest risk of severe illness. I encourage residents to keep following the public health advice because every action helps keep us all safe.”
To avoid catching and spreading COVID-19 and to reduce the risk of serious illness, the public health advice continues to be:
- Get vaccinated
- Wear a face covering in crowded or enclosed places
- Let in fresh air when meeting others indoors
- Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds
- Stay at home, if you are unwell
For more about the latest COVID-19 changes and what to expect after 1 April see the FAQs on the Keep Hampshire Safe web page at www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/coronavirus/covid-changes-faqs