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The UK appears to have run out of lateral flow tests

Following the Plan B announcement, tens of thousands have been rushing to book a box of latties – and their booster jab, too

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

Free lateral flow tests have been available on the UK government website for months now. Making it easy to detect coronavirus before a holiday, a day at work or just a trip to the pub, they’ve quickly become a normal part of pandemic life. But as you’re definitely aware, Omicron is currently causing a rise in infection rates – with some worried it could impact Christmas celebrations

This seems to have led to a shortage of LFTs on the NHS site. People trying to order them on Monday morning were met with a blunt message declaring that there are no home tests. The automated message goes on to say: ‘Sorry there are no more home tests kits available right now. Try again later. Or you can go back and try book a test site appointment instead.’

Over the weekend, the website was also overwhelmed by people trying to book their booster jabs – an annoying technical error, but an encouraging sign that take-up of the third jab is increasing. 

Most of the government’s ‘Plan B’ is already in effect, meaning that working from home is now strongly encouraged. Face masks are now compulsory on public transport and in most indoor public spaces (but not in hospitality), and from Wednesday the NHS health pass will be made compulsory in specific settings like clubs and other large venues.

We’re just hoping that the tests become available again ASAP. 

Want to find out which restrictions might be next? Here’s everything we know about ‘Plan C’.

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