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Covid Scotland: When should you take lateral flow test as Omicron variant surges?

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Lateral flow before you go – that’s the message from the Scottish Government as Omicron cases increase.

As the number of the new variant cases get higher, we all need to test more to try and curb the spread.

You can also now show a lateral flow test in some venues instead of proof of vaccination through the Covid vaccine passport scheme.

But did you know lateral flow tests have changed and there are different types now being used?

Where do you get them, do you still have to swab both nose and throat – and when should you be doing them? We’re answering your questions.

Lateral flow test.

When do I need to do a test?

Up until now, we’ve all been asked to test twice a week.

But from December 6, a negative lateral flow test can be used instead of your Covid passport to get into certain venues and events.

As Omicron cases have emerged, Nicola Sturgeon has advised testing BEFORE you socialise, visit a crowded indoor place or intend to mix with another household group.

If you do a test and it is positive, don’t go out, isolate and book a PCR test.

Where can I get a test kit?

There are a number of different ways you can get lateral flow tests:

  • Order them online or call 119. You’ll get one pack of seven tests sent to your home in one to two days.
  • Pick them up at some local test centres. Collect two packs of seven tests per household or up to four packs of seven tests if collecting for multiple people.
  • Collect from a local participating pharmacy. You can collect one pack of seven tests for each member of your household.
  • Pop into a local asymptomatic test centre in Tayside or Fife. Again, it’s one pack of seven tests for each member of your household.
Three packs of covid home test kits
There are now alternatives to these nose and throat swab tests.

Remember, if you have Covid symptoms, don’t visit a pharmacy or community testing centre. Instead, book a PCR test and isolate.

Do you still have to swab nose and throat when taking a test?

It depends on the type of test. When home testing first began, the kits asked you to swab the inside of your throat AND nose.

But now, different types are being used which may mean you only have to swab your nose.

The tests which may be sent to your home are:

  • Throat and nose swab test – plain NHS blue and white box.
  • Nose only swab test – blue and white box (ACON Flowflex).
  • Nose only swab test – green and white box (Orient Gene).

How will I know what to do?

Full step by step instructions can be found inside the test kit and also on these online videos.

NHS test

ACON Flowflex

Orient Gene

Your test is not complete until you report your result online or by phone on 119, and you receive a result confirmation notification.

You should do this, whatever the outcome, on the day you take the test.

For information on how to use your test for entry into venues see our explainer here.

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