PCR testing services for those with symptoms of COVID-19 are available throughout the New Year period.
Testing Services will maintain their normal hours of operation, with the exception of New Year’s Day when a reduced level of service will be in place.
On Saturday 1 January, Regional Test Sites (RTS) and Local Test Sites (LTS) will be open from 10.00am – 3.00pm. Mobile Test Units (MTU) will open from 10.00am – 2.00pm.
Apart from New Year’s Day, the normal hours of operation of testing sites are as follows:
RTS: 9.00am – 5.30pm
LTS: 8.00am – 6.00pm
MTU: 9.00am – 3.00pm
PCR testing for all symptomatic individuals in Northern Ireland can be booked at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
Levels of COVID-19 circulating in the community are at the highest rate they have ever been, and it is vitally important that anyone with symptoms isolates immediately and books a PCR test. .
Booking slots are made available at stages throughout the day and people are encouraged to retry should they not get a test slot immediately.
There has been a significant increase in demand for testing and new PCR testing protocols have been introduced to help protect the testing system in Northern Ireland and ensure availability of testing for those who need it.
Fully-vaccinated (two doses of vaccine) close contacts of a positive case will no longer be required to take a PCR test. They are instead are advised to take a lateral flow device (LFD) test as soon as possible and continue to take daily lateral flow tests until the tenth day after the last date of contact with the positive case.
If an LFD turns positive at any time during the 10 days or they develop symptoms, they should isolate immediately and arrange a PCR test. Unvaccinated people will have to continue to self-isolate for 10 days as before.
It is no longer necessary for children under five years of age to take a PCR test – even if they have symptoms like a cough or temperature – unless advised to do so by their doctor. If they develop symptoms, parents are encouraged to carry out a lateral flow test on them. If this is positive they should, if possible, book a PCR test for them.
All current guidance can be found on NI Direct
There is a sufficient supply of LFD tests for Northern Ireland. Community pharmacies and other collect sites are being replenished regularly. You can use the online site finder to find a local collection site: Find where to get rapid lateral flow tests – NHS (test-and-trace.nhs.uk)
You can also order a LFD test online for home delivery. Due to high demand, tests may be released in batches throughout the day on the online home delivery service. If you are not able to order tests immediately, please check again regularly throughout the day. Tests can also be ordered online at gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.