Free Covid-19 testing for the general public ended in England on Friday, as part of the Government’s plan to live with and manage the virus.

From now on, most people in England will have to buy lateral flow tests (LFTs) from pharmacies or online suppliers, unless they work in high-risk settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and prisons.

Some free testing will continue for several weeks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

So what should you do if you now have Covid-19 symptoms?

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The NHS list of main Covid-19 symptoms include:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back;
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours;
  • A loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

You should call 111 if:

  • You’re feeling gradually more unwell or more breathless;
  • You have difficulty breathing when you stand up or move around;
  • You feel very weak, achy or tired;
  • You’re shaking or shivering;
  • You’ve lost your appetite;
  • You’re unable to care for yourself – for example, tasks like washing and dressing or making food are too difficult;
  • You still feel unwell after four weeks – this may be long Covid.

You should call 999 if:

  • You are so breathless that you are unable to say short sentences when resting ;
  • Your breathing has got suddenly worse;
  • You cough up blood;
  • You feel cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin;
  • You have a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and does not fade when you roll a glass over it;
  • You collapse or faint;
  • You feel agitated, confused or very drowsy;
  • You’ve stopped peeing or are peeing much less than usual.

Should I isolate?

People who are unable to test for Covid-19 but have symptoms of a respiratory infection (including coronavirus) and a high temperature, or who feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with others until they feel well enough to resume activities, and until their temperatures has gone, Government guidance says.

Anyone with a positive Covid-19 test result is advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is the period of time when they are most infectious.

Further advice is to be issued for people who need to leave their home when they have symptoms or have tested positive. This includes avoiding close contact with people with a weakened immune system, wearing a face covering, and avoiding crowded places.

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