From 1 April 2022, it is understood that NHS workers and those living or working in "high risk" settings will continue to be eligible for free symptomatic COVID-19 testing, when free testing ends for the general public. "High risk" settings include, among other settings, care homes, hospitals, hospices, homecare organisations, homelessness settings, high risk domestic abuse refuges, prisons and immigration centres.
In addition, during periods of high prevalence of COVID-19, asymptomatic testing will continue to be available to adult social care staff and a small number of visitors providing personal care, hospice staff, patient-facing staff in the NHS and NHS-funded independent healthcare provision, and some staff in prisons, other places of detention, some refuges and shelters. It is understood that these tests will also be free.
Care home outbreak testing for all staff and residents will continue "all year".
Free lateral flow tests will be sent to people who are at a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
New public health guidance, which is anticipated to include guidance on testing and what employers can continue to do to reduce the risk of workplace transmission of COVID-19, is expected imminently. It is hoped that this guidance will provide further clarity on the new testing regime.
Sources: UK Health Security Agency: News story, Changes to COVID-19 testing in England from 1 April, 30 March 2022, Department of Health and Social Care: News story, Government sets out next steps for living with COVID, 29 March 2022 and