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COVID: Tests to be offered twice-weekly to all in England

April 5, 2021 11:06 am

Everyone in England is to be given access to two rapid coronavirus tests a week from Friday, under an extension of the government’s testing programme.

The lateral flow kits, which can provide results in around 30 minutes, will be available for free at testing sites, pharmacies and through the post.

The tests are already offered to school children and their families plus those who have to leave home for work.

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The health secretary said the plan would help squash future outbreaks.

But critics of the programme say it risks becoming a “scandalous” waste of money.

It comes as Boris Johnson is due to meet the cabinet to sign off the next stage of lockdown easing in England, which will see non-essential shops reopen and pubs and restaurants start serving outdoors from 12 April.

Later, the prime minister will hold a Downing Street briefing, where he is expected to outline plans for coronavirus passports to enable mass-audience events to take place in the months ahead and confirm a traffic light system will be introduced when international leisure travel resumes.

Mr Johnson hailed the plan to offer everyone testing from 9 April, saying: “As we continue to make good progress on our vaccine programme and with our road map cautiously easing restrictions under way, regular rapid testing is even more important to make sure those efforts are not wasted.”

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