The UK Government has announced that regular asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 in all remaining settings in England will be paused from 31 August, as COVID-19 cases continue to fall. The settings include NHS and care homes.

Free testing for the public ended on 1 April as part of the government’s Living with COVID plan, but asymptomatic testing continued to be used in some settings during periods of high case rates.

Settings where asymptomatic testing of staff and patients or residents will be paused include:

  • the NHS (including independent healthcare providers treating NHS patients)
  • adult social care and hospice services (apart from new admissions)
  • parts of the prison estate and some places of detention
  • certain domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings

The UK Government has said that testing will remain in place for admissions into care homes and hospices from both hospitals and the community, and for transfers for immunocompromised patients into and within hospital to protect those who are most vulnerable.

Testing will also be available for outbreaks in certain high-risk settings such as care homes.

Year-round symptomatic testing will continue to be provided in some settings, including:

  • NHS patients who require testing as part of established clinical pathways or those eligible for COVID-19 treatments
  • NHS staff and staff in NHS-funded independent healthcare provision
  • staff in adult social care services and hospices and residents of care homes, extra care and supported living settings and hospices
  • staff and detainees in prisons
  • staff and service users of certain domestic abuse refuges and homelessness services