Covid lateral flow tests 'unavailable' to order online ahead of March 31 rule change

People have reported being unable to order lateral flow tests from the Government website Credit: PA

People have been unable to order lateral flow tests amid a lack of delivery slots, just 10 days before they stop being free.

Free coronavirus testing will end in England after March 31 as part of Boris Johnson's Living with Covid plan.

The prime minister is scaling back on free testing, which he says cost the UK Government £2billion in January alone.

While vulnerable people and those who work in health and social care settings will still be able to access free tests, the vast majority of people in England will have to pay from April 1.

But many people are already reporting difficulty ordering lateral flow tests 10 days ahead of the rule change.

People trying to order tests through the Government website are being met with an error message which says "Sorry, there are no more home delivery slots for these tests right now".

The UKHSA says people should only order tests when they need them and do not have any at home

When asked about a possible shortage, a UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) spokesperson said people should "only order test kits if they need them" and do not have any already at home.

They said: “To ensure an even distribution of lateral flow tests across the country, people can order one pack of seven tests within a 72 hour period from

"This reflects the recent changes to testing as outlined in the Living with Covid plan.

“We would encourage people to only order test kits if they need them and only after they have used up any kits they already have at home.”

How to get a lateral flow test kit if you can't get one online

Pharmacies may have some lateral flow testing kits available, although this service will also end on March 31. You can find out which pharmacies are taking part in the scheme via the NHS' website.

The NHS advises people to get a collection code before getting tests from a pharmacy. You can sign up for a collection code via the Government website.

There are also a number of community collection points set up by local councils. The Government website has a postcode checker which you can use to find your local collection point.

Local testing sites may also offer lateral flow tests, although you may need an appointment. There is a postcode checker on the NHS website where you can find your local test centre.