The Government announced this week that from tomorrow, 9th April 2021, everyone in England will be able to access two free lateral flow tests each week.
The free tests can be accessed in several ways, including an online home ordering service, workplace testing programmes, community testing programmes provided by local authorities, collection at local PCR test sites, testing on-site at schools and colleges, and a new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ Service.
Research has shown that one in three people with Coronavirus do not show symptoms, so it’s hoped that the new, regular rapid tests will help prevent and contain future outbreaks. Since lateral flow tests were introduced, over 120,000 positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified in people that may otherwise have been unaware they were spreading the infection.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Covid-19 strategic response director at PHE and chief medical adviser to NHS Test and Trace, said: ‘I encourage everyone to take up the offer of these free rapid tests, they are quick and easy to carry out in your own home.
‘Rapid testing helps us find Covid-19 cases that we wouldn’t otherwise know about, helping to break chains of transmission. These tests are effective in detecting people that are infectious and therefore most likely to transmit infection to others. They are another tool we now have to help maintain lower infection rates.’
As we edge closer to Step 2 of the Government’s Roadmap out of the current restrictions, this can only be a positive step towards some semblance of normality.