Covid 19: Do you know how to use a lateral flow test?

The Department of Health has urged anyone using a Covid-19 lateral flow test to make sure instructions are followed carefully as there are differences in the various kits currently available.
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Programme director Matt Wills said that as a number of new types of the rapid test kits will become widely available within days in Northern Ireland, it is vitally important that the public know how to use them.

“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,” he said.

“People who are accessing tests through their workplace may also receive the Orient Gene test kit.

“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,” Mr Wills stressed.

Under the latest guidance, anyone who is attending an event or social gathering should take a test before they go.

The Department of Health said it is particularly important to test before visiting someone who is older or more vulnerable. Regular twice weekly testing is also encouraged.

Mr Wills added: “Please keep making safer choices and follow the latest guidance even if your test result is negative. The test isn’t over until you have reported your result online, and you must self-isolate if your lateral flow test is positive.”

Results should be reported online at