Testing Covid extended
In a significant step forward in order for mobility and access retailers to reopen, everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing from 9 April, the UK Government has announced.

Anyone will be able to access free, rapid lateral flow tests (LFDs) for themselves and their families to use twice a week, in line with clinical guidance, a statement by the Government confirmed.

Rapid testing has so far been available to those most at risk and people who need to leave home for work, including frontline NHS workers and care home staff. Now rapid testing will be offered to everyone, with people encouraged to take regular tests to help prevent outbreaks and reclaim a more normal way of life.

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One in three people with COVID-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus unwittingly. Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately. Since rapid testing was introduced, over 120,000 positive cases that would not have been found otherwise have already been identified by LFDs.

By making rapid tests available to everyone, more cases will be detected, breaking chains of transmission and saving lives.

Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, regular testing is going to be an essential part of the easing of restrictions as it will help us quickly suppress the spread of variants.

Through new testing technology, positive cases of variants of concern are being detected faster than ever before. More people getting a test will increase our ability to identify and control variants.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented that as the country continues to make good progress on its vaccine programme and with a roadmap to cautiously easing restrictions underway, regular rapid testing is even more important to make sure those efforts are not wasted.

He said: “That’s why we’re now rolling out free rapid tests to everyone across England – helping us to stop outbreaks in their tracks, so we can get back to seeing the people we love and doing the things we enjoy.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said that regular rapid testing is going to be fundamental in helping us quickly spot positive cases and squash any outbreaks.

“The vaccine programme has been a shot in the arm for the whole country, but reclaiming our lost freedoms and getting back to normal hinges on us all getting tested regularly.”

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