Boots selling Covid tests for £6 a piece or £17 for a pack of four ahead of rule change

Boots is selling lateral flow coronavirus tests online for £5.99 a piece, with a pack of four costing £17, despite free tests still being available on the NHS for more than a month longer.

The health store's move to sell Covid tests comes amid massive demand for the remaining free tests, with delivery slots on the government website completely running out across the UK on Tuesday.

Customers are able to buy a pack of four for £17 or one test for £5.99, with the standard delivery of £3.75 waived, until the free provision of tests ends on April 1.

People will be able to buy them in-store for £12 for a pack of five after April 1.

It is expected they will cost £2.50 for individual tests, which is within the price parameters the government said it expected retailers to follow.

The government, which is working with retailers to ensure tests are always available for purchase, said it expects them to cost between £2 and £5 for an individual test and around £20 for a pack of seven.

Free lateral flow tests are still available from Boots on behalf of the NHS through the Pharmacy Collect scheme, the firm pointed out.

It comes after Boris Johnson announced his plan for living with Covid without restrictions, which will see the end of free testing and the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test.

Tests are currently available to order online for home delivery, however the availability of delivery slots is sporadic and they are likely to run out again.

The UK Health Security Agency said that test availability is refreshed regularly so people are encouraged to re-visit the site every few hours as more will become available.

People are advised that they could access free tests by collecting them from a pharmacy or collection point, but anyone with symptoms should not collect in person.

To prevent people stockpiling them before April 1, individuals are only allowed to order a box of tests on the NHS every three days instead of every 24 hours.

Boots UK director of healthcare services Asif Aziz said: “We are pleased to be expanding our Covid-19 testing services even further, with affordable lateral flow testing options for those who still want peace of mind from asymptomatic testing after 1 April.

“While it is great that we are returning to normal and finding a way to live with Covid-19, we encourage our customers and patients to stay safe and continue to take measures to limit the spread of the virus, especially to those in vulnerable groups.”