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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - LONDON — People in England will have access to twice-weekly rapid coronavirus testing, the government announced on Monday, as part of an effort to ease lockdown restrictions.
The hopes is that regular testing, along with vaccination, will help the country return to some kind of normalcy.
"Around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms, and as we reopen society and resume parts of life we have all dearly missed, regular rapid testing is going to be fundamental in helping us quickly spot positive cases and squash any outbreaks," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement.
According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, rapid tests, while fast, sometimes give incorrect results.
Dr. Susan Hopkins at Public Health England says that rapid tests are a tool that can help the government "find COVID-19 cases that we wouldn’t otherwise know about, helping to break chains of transmission."
British Premier Boris Johnson is expected to lay out these policies in addition to testing vaccine certificates at a press conference on Monday. So far, more than 31 million people in the country have received a first dose of a COVID-19 jab.
Vaccine certificates to be tested
Meanwhile, the UK is set to test the use of vaccine passports to determine if people can safely return to mass gatherings as part of the country's easing of lockdown restrictions.
The health "passport" will show whether a person has received a vaccine, has recently tested negative for coronavirus, or has immunity due to having tested positive in the previous six months.
Trial events will include the FA Cup final on May 15 as well as the World Snooker Championships.
Johnson said the trials will play an important role in allowing the reopening of the country, "so people can return to the events, travel and do other things they love as safely as possible.”
However, dozens of members in the ruling Conservative party have opposed the plans and the prime minister could struggle getting parliament to approve the trials.
Johnson has already ditched plans to introduce the health certificate at pubs and restaurants. — Euronews
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