Alongside the roll out of the vaccine, regular testing is going to be an essential part of the easing of restrictions.
From Friday 9 April 2021, anyone in England 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.
‘One in three people with Covid-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus without knowing it,’ says Dr Shaun Davis, global director compliance and sustainability.
‘Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission and saving lives,’ he says.
The expanded regular testing offer for people without symptoms will be delivered through:
- A home ordering service, which allows people to order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to their home
- Workplace testing programmes, on site or at home (we continue to pilot employee testing)
- Community testing, offered by all local authorities
- Collection at a local PCR test site during specific test collection time windows
- Testing on site at schools and colleges.
The best route for testing can be found on the GOV.UK website. If anyone tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, they should:
- Self-isolate immediately and inform their manager;
- Get a PCR test to confirm the result and update their manager - book a test online or by calling 119; and
- Follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.
A negative result means the test did not find signs of coronavirus. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so we should keep following our Covid-secure arrangements and continue to follow all coronavirus advice including the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ messaging.
Keep watch for a new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service also launching, which will provide an additional route to regular testing. People aged over 18 without symptoms will be able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of seven rapid tests to use twice a week at home.