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How regular, rapid Covid-19 tests will help get the UK out of lockdown
15 March 2021, 16:46
Around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms - by having rapid tests twice a week, the public can help stop the spread of the virus.
With pupils across England returning to schools and the country on the pathway out of lockdown regular and rapid Covid-19 testing has a critical role to play in helping to keep families, friends and colleges safe.
The Government has urged all adults who live in households with primary school, secondary school and college-age children, including childcare and support bubbles, to test themselves twice a week.
As set out in the Government's roadmap, secondary school and college students will now be tested twice a week, receiving three initial tests at school or college before transitioning to twice-weekly home testing.
Primary school children will not be regularly asymptomatically tested due to low levels of transmission between younger aged children but will continue to need to come forward for tests if they have symptoms.
Around one in three people who have Covid-19 do not show any symptoms and could be passing the virus on without knowing.
Arrangements have been put in place for the testing of secondary school pupils and primary and secondary school staff who will also receive regular testing through schools.
The rollout will help keep Covid away ensuring people are kept safe and the path out of lockdown is able to continue.
Rapid testing aims to test as many people as possible to help stop the spread of infections – especially as places, such as schools, start to reopen to more pupils.
The rapid testing works quickly and can detect cases in under 30 minutes, meaning positive cases are able to isolate immediately.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock supported the rollout of regular testing, branding it a "tool" to "help keep schools safe."
Mr Hancock said: "Regular testing of households and childcare support bubbles of primary and secondary school children is another tool we are making available to help keep schools safe."
"We know that 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms, so targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases are kept out of schools and colleges."
The Health Secretary urged everyone to "play their part" by getting regular testing explaining this would "enable vital public services, workplaces and educational settings can stay open and running, and we can move closer to a more normal way of life."
Getting a rapid test is quick and convenient. The expanded regular testing offer for people without symptoms will be delivered through:
- testing in-person via workplace testing
- local authority test sites
- collection at a local PCR test site during specific test collection time windows
- a new home ordering service, which allows people to order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to their home