New postcode checker reveals where you can get rapid Covid testsJanuary 24, 2022
THIS new postcode checker reveals where you can get a rapid coronavirus test for free.
Nine out of ten local authorities in England are now offering lateral flow tests for people who don't have symptoms of Covid-19.
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In order to use the tool you first need to go to the government website by clicking here.
You need to then scroll down to the search box and enter your postcode and click "find".
Your postcode will then be matched to your local council authority.
If you still want to get a test you can then follow the link which will show you all the lateral flow test sites in your area.
In some areas you are still only able to get a test if you have symptoms or if you are a key worker that doesn't have symptoms but needs a negative test to be able to work.
Throughout the pandemic only people who have had symptoms of Covid-19 or have been advised to take a test by a health care practitioner, have been able to get tests for free.
The three most common symptoms of Covid-19 are a new persistent cough,a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.
But one in three people who have contracted the virus have no symptoms.
It's hoped that lateral flow tests will be able to break chains of transmission.
They are free and you get the results 30 minutes after taking a test.
Experts have however previously warned that PCR tests – which take longer to give you a result – are more sensitive – so are more likely to pick up an infection.
But Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson last night hailed lateral flow tests during a press conference at Downing Street.
The PM hinted mass deployment of saliva tests will play a fundamental part in rolling back lockdown restrictions on large events.
He was asked last night whether a mass testing drive could allow weddings and other big gatherings to resume.
Boris said: “I’m a massive enthusiast for the advantages of lateral flow testing and daily testing – it’s getting ever more sophisticated.
"There are tests that you can do now that just require a saliva test, faster than the ones you put up your nose.
"These will really come into their own as we get the vaccination programme really going down the cohorts, and as we start to be able to unlock.
"Eventually of course we want weddings and other such events to go ahead as a result of the vaccination, and the overall programme, and the overall reduction of the disease.
"And lateral flow testing we think will be of continuing benefit to businesses and to events of all kinds as an additional safeguard."
A Covid lateral flow test uses a swab from a patient's nose or throat to quickly determine if they are infected with coronavirus.
The sample is added to a tube and tested using a special solution that gives results in around 30 minutes.
They are useful due to their quick turnaround, and are fairly simple to administer.
The Gov.uk website says: "We know that between one in four and one in three people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but that does not mean they are not infectious.
"These devices can help identify people who have high levels of virus who do not have symptoms and would not otherwise be coming forward for a test."
Lateral flow tests are also already regularly used to check for other illnesses, as well as being used in environmental testing, animal health, food and feed testing, and plant and crop health.
Back in December the accuracy of the quick tests was questioned after lateral flow devices used in the community testing rollout in Liverpool missed half the cases, reports the British Medical Journal.
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And Professor Jon Deeks of the University of Birmingham sparked concern after sharing unpublished test results on social media which suggested the tests had given 58 per cent false positives.
However, the Liverpool trial found that regular, rapid testing cut transmission by 90 per cent and can help Britain to "get back to normal," Health Minister Lord Bethel said back in November.
But now the Government insists they can be "reliably used" to detect coronavirus, although they are not a "silver bullet" to stop the virus, the Gov.uk website adds.
It says: "Public Health England and Oxford University have performed extensive clinical validation and field evaluations to assess and understand the performance of the tests we are using in communities and care homes."
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