More than one million rapid lateral flow tests have been delivered into Northern Ireland in the past 48 hours, with the additional tests reinforcing supplies available to the public.

While there is currently very high demand for lateral flow tests across Northern Ireland, there is no shortage of tests.

Rapid lateral flow tests are available from more than 580 sites across Northern Ireland, including over 500 community pharmacies. Community pharmacies are replenished regularly and additional deliveries are being made into Northern Ireland on a regular basis.

Tests are also available to order online. Due to high demand, tests may be released in batches throughout the day on the online home delivery service.

Programme Director Matt Wills commented, ‘I would ask everyone to be patient and keep trying if they are unable to access tests immediately. We know the Omicron variant spreads rapidly and lateral flow tests are an extremely effective way to reduce transmission. Regular testing will help to reduce pressure on our health and social care services, and protect the people close to us.’

Matt Wills has also urged the public to carefully follow the instructions when they take a test as a number of different tests are now in use across Northern Ireland.

A number of new types of rapid lateral flow test will become widely available within days in Northern Ireland. Anyone ordering rapid lateral flow tests through the online home delivery service or by collecting from their local community pharmacy may receive the ACON Flowflex test kit. People who are accessing tests through their workplace may also receive the Orient Gene test kit.

He added, ‘There are now several different types of lateral flow devices in use across Northern Ireland. It’s vital that anyone using them closely follows the instructions in their test kits. All the tests currently in circulation have been proven to accurately detect the new OMICRON variant. Both the ACON and Orient Gene tests are nasal-only tests, meaning a throat swab is not required. The result is ready after just 15 minutes but the result may be inaccurate if read after 30 minutes. There are other small differences too so it’s really important to check the instructions as you complete the test.’