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COVID Testing & Self Isolation

COVID-19 has not gone away and is likely to remain with us globally.

Even though restrictions have been lifted, you should do all you can to keep yourself and others safe.

Help us to continue to disrupt the transmission of the virus by:

  • self-isolating when you feel unwell
  • wearing masks in crowded places
  • keeping up to date with your vaccinations

Continuing with protective behaviours is important and will help to minimise exposure to and spread of COVID-19, as well as other respiratory infections and other diseases

From 1 April 2022, testing for COVID-19 will change. People can no longer order lateral flow tests (LFTs) unless they have symptoms of COVID-19. All PCR testing sites for the general public will close.


Who can get a COVID-19 lateral flow test

Most people in Wales are no longer advised to take a lateral flow test if they have symptoms of COVID-19. You can find guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19 here.

How to get a test

You can get free tests if you're included in one of the groups who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments.  

If you're unsure if you are eligible, speak to your doctor or hospital specialist who can advise you.

If you are eligible, tests can be collected from a community pharmacy.

If you visit a pharmacy to get a supply of tests you may be asked about your medical history to confirm your eligibility. If you have a copy of a letter or email sent to you by the NHS that says you are eligible for COVID-19 treatment, take this with you. A letter or email is not essential, but it will help the pharmacy to confirm you’re eligible for free tests more easily. 

Someone else can collect tests on your behalf, for example, a friend, relative or carer. They will need to give the pharmacy your details, including your: 

  • full name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • NHS number (if available)
  • medical condition(s) to confirm your eligibility

They should also bring any copies of letters or emails that have been sent to you by the NHS about COVID-19 treatments if you have them.

Find a pharmacy near you that supplies NHS lateral flow tests

If you wish to test but are not eligible for free lateral flow tests, you can purchase them from various retailers.



What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

Free COVID-19 tests are no longer available for most people and they should follow the above advice if they experience symptoms. People eligible for free NHS tests or who purchase tests privately, should follow the advice below if they test positive: 

  • Try to stay at home and avoid contact with others. Do this until you no longer feel unwell, do not have a high temperature (if you had one) and are ready to return to your normal activities. In particular, avoid anyone at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell with an acute respiratory infection.
  • Work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home, talk to your employer about your options.
  • If you've been asked to attend a medical or dental appointment in person, let them know about your symptoms and positive test result.
  • You should let everyone in your household know about your positive COVID-19 test result. COVID-19 is infectious for up to 2 days before you begin to feel unwell, or the date of your test. Therefore, you should tell anyone you had close contact with during this time. This means they can be aware of signs or symptoms. 

If you took an NHS test and are eligible for treatment, report a positive result on the NHS 111 Wales COVID-19 Antiviral Self-Referral Form. If you don’t have internet access you can report your result by calling NHS 111. You can find further guidance on reporting test results and accessing treatment on our COVID-19 treatments pages.

If you are not eligible for COVID-19 treatments please do not report your results on any government, or NHS web pages. You should follow the advice above.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, they are worsening, or you can no longer manage at home, seek medical advice by contacting your GP or NHS 111. In an emergency dial 999.

If you have to leave your home when you’re unwell

If you have to leave your home, try to do this as safely as possible. The following actions will reduce the chance of passing on your infection to others:

  • consider wearing a well fitted face mask
  • avoid anywhere enclosed or poorly ventilated, or crowded places like:
    • public transport
    • large social gatherings
  • do not go to places where you know there will be people who are at higher risk from COVID-19 such as hospitals and care homes
  • take any exercise outdoors in places where you will not have close contact with other people
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose and before you eat or handle food
    • wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds
    • use hand sanitiser 
  • avoid touching your face


How to reduce the spread of respiratory infections including COVID-19 in your household

If you have an infection, there are things you can do to help prevent it spreading to others in your household:

  • Keep your distance from people.
  • Ventilate rooms you are in by opening windows and leaving them open for at least 10 minutes after you have left the room.
  • Wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Regularly clean often touched surfaces like door handles and remotes, and shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Consider wearing a well fitted face mask. This is particularly important if you live with someone with chronic health conditions or with a weakened immune system.
  • Tell anyone that does need to come into your home that you've tested positive or that you have symptoms of a respiratory infection. This is so they can protect themselves. They can do this by wearing a face mask, keeping their distance if they can, and washing their hands regularly.


What to do if you are a close contact of someone who has a respiratory infection, including COVID-19

People who live in the same household as someone with a respiratory infection are at the highest risk of becoming infected. This is because they are most likely to have prolonged close contact. People staying overnight at the home of someone with a respiratory infection while they are infectious are also at high risk.

You can reduce the risk to other people by taking the following steps:

  • Pay close attention to the main symptoms of respiratory infections. If you develop any of these symptoms, you are advised to stay at home and follow the guidance above.
  • Avoid contact with anyone you know at higher risk of severe illness if you are infected with an acute respiratory infection. People with a weakened immune system are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and flu, despite vaccination.
  • Work from home if you are able to do so.
  • Limit close contact with other people indoors.
  • Consider wearing a well fitted face mask if you do need to have close contact with other people, or you are in a crowded place.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitiser.
  • If you develop symptoms of any respiratory infection, try to stay at home. Avoid contact with other people and follow the guidance for people with symptoms.

If you are a contact of someone with a respiratory infection but do not live with them or did not stay with them overnight, you are at lower risk of infection. You do not need to follow all of the advice set out above. However, you should pay close attention to the main symptoms of respiratory infections. If you develop any, you are advised to stay at home and follow the guidance for people with symptoms.


Employment and staying at home

Businesses, employers and event organisers should see COVID-19 like flu and norovirus. They are no longer legally required to conduct a specific coronavirus risk assessment.

We advise them to continue using effective public health control measures. These help protect everyone from exposure to and the spread of respiratory infections. The most effective way of preventing the spread of any communicable disease anywhere is to prevent a virus being present in the first place. 

Staff should try to stay at home if they are showing symptoms of a respiratory infection or do not feel well enough to go to work. 

Employers should consider what to do if a staff member shows any symptoms of a communicable disease or tests positive for COVID-19. What is reasonable will depend on several factors. This includes whether it is feasible for the work to be carried out from home. (Also see the public health advice above on working from home).

Welsh Government urges employers to discuss and agree changes to absence management with staff and unions in advance.

Financial support if you cannot work

You should tell your employer if you’re unwell and have symptoms of a respiratory infection such as COVID-19 and do not feel well enough to go to work. You may be covered by their sick leave or special leave policy.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay from the 4th day of your sickness absence.

Find out more about Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) on