Scottish health Secretary says more Covid restrictions ‘inevitable’
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Under new coronavirus control measures, anyone pinged to say they’ve been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid will no longer need to automatically isolate, but must take a daily lateral flow test for seven days. If the test remains negative and you’re fully vaccinated, they don’t need to isolate, but if it’s positive or you’re unvaccinated, you’ll need to self-isolate for 10 days. These rules will come into effect from Tuesday.
So where can you order lateral flows?
Lateral flow tests have been available to order for free on the Government website, which you can access here.
However, as demand surged for home testing kits, the website struggled to keep up with demand, eventually telling people there were no more kits available.
Sources have claimed there are, however, plenty of available lateral flow tests, just not the infrastructure to keep up with the orders.
So what can people do instead? One option is to try local pharmacies and see if they have any available – pharmacies do stock lateral flow tests and will give them out free if they have any in stock.
Another option is to ask at your child’s school or at your workplace, as some of these settings have stockpiled tests and might be willing to hand them out.
If you’re in urgent need of a test and have symptoms, you might need to book a PCR test if none of these other options helps you.
There appear to be no problems or shortages with the availability of PCR tests.
The new rules form part of a plan to manage the Omicron variant, which is now expected to become the dominant strain in the UK by mid-December.
Also included in the new package of measures is a goal to offer all over-18s in England a booster jab before the end of the month.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are taking this proportionate and more practical measure to limit the impact on people’s day to day lives while helping to reduce the spread of Omicron.
“Vaccines remain our best defence and I urge anyone yet to get a first and second jab to come forward and those eligible for a booster to get boosted as soon as possible.”
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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) added the daily testing is aiming to replace the requirement for Omicron contacts to isolate for 10 days.
The plans also aim to protect the public by identifying asymptomatic cases and stopping chains of transmission.
The DHSC said testing daily with lateral flow tests will then help with understanding how and where the virus is spreading.
The department went on to add that close contacts of people who test positive are at higher risk of getting Covid and daily testing will therefore help ensure people are not passing the virus on to others without realising it.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “If you are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19, taking a rapid daily test – and only needing to isolate if it is positive – will help reduce the spread of the virus and minimise its impact on our everyday lives over the coming weeks and months.
“Rapid tests are freely available in pharmacies and online.
“Our latest analysis shows that boosters provide the best protection against the Omicron variant, please go forward when you are called.
“If you haven’t had any vaccine, a first and second dose still gives you protection against becoming seriously unwell.
“Don’t worry about stepping forwards now – you will be warmly welcomed by our vaccination staff and I would strongly advise you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
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