The subject of Coronavirus testing has been a matter of controversy, both nationally and internationally, since the outbreak of the virus. And despite pledging to test 100,000 key workers a day, by the end of the month, the government are set to receive more scrutiny for their failure to achieve their target.
So, can you book a Coronavirus test? Discover the latest advice from Public Health England below, including who can access tests, and where. Plus, the latest information on antibody testing.
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Can I book a Coronavirus test?
In government guidance (opens in new tab) released on 23rd April 2020, Public Health England announced that 'all essential workers (opens in new tab) in England, and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested,' with testing options including home testing kits, mobile testing sites and satellite testing kits.
In a bid to make the process easier, a new test booking platform was announced, on which employers could register and refer self-isolating staff (opens in new tab), a move which would enable employees to book a test directly for themselves or symptomatic members of their household (opens in new tab).
This provision is in addition to testing already available to NHS workers and other front line staff, who have been able to access testing kits since the beginning of the month.
For members of the public who are not key workers, guidance remains the same (opens in new tab): if you're exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, stay at home and self isolate for an initial seven days, then monitor your symptoms and make decisions about extending isolation accordingly.
Tests are not available for all exhibiting symptoms, and health care professionals will make decisions as to who should be tested and for whom a test is not essential. For more advice, you can use the NHS 111 online advice portal (opens in new tab).
Is anti-body testing available in the UK?
The government have also outlined their intention to make anti-body home testing kits available to the general public via Boots, Amazon and similar retailers. It is hoped that this may give greater insight into those who are immune to the disease and so could safely return to work, and those who are vulnerable. However, this has not yet come to fruition due to concerns regarding their accuracy.
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