Rapid Covid-19 testing is safe, the Department of Health has confirmed – after misinformation was circulated on social media.

Lateral flow technology is used to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 for the virus, and provides results within an hour. People are then able to self-isolate and, in doing so, prevent the spread of the virus to others.

However, inaccurate claims about the safety of rapid testing has been spread on social media. 

In response, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Lateral flow tests have been rigorously tested and are safe to use on a regular basis. Any suggestion otherwise is inaccurate and harmful misinformation.

“We are working closely with social media platforms to help them identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the pandemic, including deliberately false information that could endanger people's health.” 

John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "People should be reassured that rapid testing is not only safe but a key weapon in our fight against coronavirus.

"We know that a third of people with Covid-19 don't have any symptoms of the virus, but could still spread it to others. Residents are encouraged to get a rapid test twice a week so that we can break the chain of transmission and reduce the spread of Covid-19 in our city."

Free rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 is available at the mobile unit which is at Phoenix Park until Sunday (11 April) from 8am-6pm and at:  

  • The Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm
  • The Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road West, 10am-7pm daily
  • Pendeford Library, Monday-Friday, 7am-6pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm
  • The Hub at Ashmore Park, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10am-6pm
  • St Joseph’s Church, Willenhall Road, Monday-Friday, 2pm-6pm.

More information on rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 is available at Coronavirus Testing. Rapid testing is not available for people who have symptoms of Covid-19, including a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, or people who have been told to isolate. Anyone with symptoms should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119.

John added: "Please remember that, even if you have had your Covid-19 vaccination, it's important to get tested regularly. You must continue to follow Government guidance. Keep your distance from others, wear a face covering and wash your hands or use hand sanitiser so that we can defeat this virus."