Free rapid Covid tests for families of school children in England

Schools across England are expected to reopen on 8 March

Chantal da Silva@chantaladasilva
Sunday 28 February 2021 16:05
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Free rapid coronavirus testing is expected to be offered to the families of all pupils in England under the government’s plan to reopen schools.

All secondary school and college students were already set to be tested for Covid-19 twice a week upon their return to classrooms on 8 March.

However, ministers have now promised that rapid test kits will also be provided twice a week to pupils, as well as anyone in their household and support bubble.

The coronavirus tests are expected to be made available for pick-up at 500 locations across the country, while families will also be able to take the tests at local testing sites or pre-existing schemes at their workplaces.

“Testing family members will provide yet another layer of reassurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible, building on the massive increase in testing for secondary school and college students, and strengthened requirements around face coverings in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained,” education secretary Gavin Williamson said.

Read more: UK records lowest daily Covid cases in almost five months

Rapid testing allows for positive cases of coronavirus to be detected in under 30 minutes, helping prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The development comes as the number of daily cases identified in the UK continues to decline.

On Saturday, the UK reported 7,434 new cases of Covid-19, the lowest number of daily infections in nearly five months.

The figure was the lowest to be reported since 2 October, when 6,968 new infections were identified.

Meanwhile, coronavirus hospital admissions are also at their lowest levels in England since October, NHS figures have shown.

As case rates drop, the UK’s vaccination effort continues to push ahead, with nearly two million people between the ages of 60 and 63 set to be invited to book their jabs starting Monday, NHS England has said.

Almost 20 million people in the UK have already received their first dose of the vaccine and the government plans to have all adults offered a first jab by the end of July.

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