How regular, rapid Covid-19 tests will help get the UK out of lockdown
15 March 2021, 12:06 | Updated: 16 March 2021, 13:06
We explain all you need to know about regular, rapid testing that is now available to parents and support bubbles of nursery, school children and college students as part of the pathway back to opening up the country from lockdown.
The rollout of the vaccines to the UK's most in need people has bolstered hopes of life returning to 'normal' and us being able to get back to being close to the people and hobbies that we love.
But after a year of being at the mercy of an unseen enemy, scientists and doctors know that shaking off the grip of coronavirus won't be a simple process or overnight change.
Research has found that 1 in 3 people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms and are spreading it without knowing. You might even have the virus right now and have no idea you could be infecting people, creating new chains of the bug that could end up leaving someone critically ill - or even dead.
That's why regular, rapid testing for those without symptoms is so important in responding to Covid-19.
Here's everything you need to know about the rapid testing kits, and who needs to use them...
Why is regular rapid testing being introduced?
The tests are being rolled out for all parents and support bubbles of nursery, school children and college students as scientists have found that rapid Covid-19 testing plays a critical role in helping to keep our family, friends and colleagues safe.
Twice weekly testing will help stop the virus from spreading, keeping us safe and making sure schools - and later, as the roadmap out of lockdown continues, shops and hospitality venues - stay open.
How do the regular rapid tests work and are they free?
These are rapid tests for people who do not have symptoms (they might be referred to as Lateral Flow Tests/Devices) but are mingling with people through their work - or might be in contact with the virus indirectly once their children are back mixing with others at school.
They are free and easy to get, and most importantly, getting the results is much simpler and more convenient. You do not need to post the swab and vial and wait for a text or email, you can see the results in around 30 minutes!
Who is eligible for regular, rapid tests?
Millions of people have already taken part in regular testing - and now even more people can join them.
With schools returning, the tests are now available for parents and support bubbles of nursery, school children and college students.
As the UK continues to move out of lockdown, these rapid tests will be available to more people including shop workers, and those who work in hospitality.