Northumberland residents who live in rural areas will soon be able to access rapid Covid tests without having to travel.

Rapid testing has been available at some of the county’s leisure centres, but after a reduction in demand the service will now form a roving model for home test kit distribution.

Community pharmacies are providing a home test kit collection service which will serve the majority of towns and parishes, while the roving distribution service will provide additional local access to promote the availability of tests.

Rapid testing kits can give results in 30 minutes, meaning those who are positive can immediately self-isolate.

This move comes after the government’s recent announcement that everyone in England can now access free, regular, and rapid testing. Residents without Covid-19 symptoms can access rapid lateral flow tests for themselves and their families to use at home twice a week.

It is hoped that increased testing will better track cases, breaking chains in transmissions and therefore leading to fewer deaths.

Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health for Northumberland, said: “We now know that a third of people with infection don’t have symptoms so people may spread the virus unknowingly.

“The Community Testing programme was set up to help find those cases through regular, voluntary testing in people who do not have symptoms. By carrying out two tests a week at home, we can quickly identify whether we are infectious and prevent further spread by self-isolating.

“We all play a part in the battle with Covid and I would encourage everyone to take part in regular testing – even if you have had a vaccination. By keeping the virus under control, we can all get back to normality sooner.”

To find out when community vehicles will be distributing tests in your area, visit