THERE are now 25 million people who are eligible for coronavirus testing.
The antigen or swab test can detect if a person currently has Covid-19, while the antibody test tells you if you have had it. Here's all you need to know.
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What coronavirus tests are available?
The five ways individuals can get a test are testing in NHS hospitals, regional test centres in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Satellite centres, home test kits or mobile testing units.
The swab test only tells you if you currently have the virus.
But today the home tests went live at 8am and by 9.20am all the kits had been taken.
Antibody kits can test people to see if they have had the virus – because your body will develop antibodies from coronavirus that will stay in your system weeks and months after you have had the virus, yet they cannot tell if you have the virus right now.
However, these antibody tests are not currently available and MHRA approved with several medical companies and research sites working on producing them.
Scientists at Oxford got "mixed results" from the first week of testing the latest tests, but the new test from Roche looks promising.
Who is eligible for the coronavirus swab test in the UK?
From Wednesday, testing will be available to all frontline workers in health and social care, even if they are not displaying symptoms.
Testing will also be expanded to NHS patients and residents in care homes regardless of whether they have symptoms.
All other essential workers, and the people they live with, can get tested if they have symptoms.
People aged over 65 and their households can get tested if they are showing symptoms, as well as anyone who goes into work because they cannot work from home and their households if they have symptoms.
- Food chain workers
- Public safety and national security – police, Ministry of Defence civilian staff, armed forces personnel, fire and rescue staff, border security, prisons and probation.
- Postal workers
- religious staff
- Those responsible for managing the deceased
- Local and national government workers
- Utility workers – gas, electricity, water, sewage, chemical, telecommunication
- Transport – air, water, road, rail and freight transport
Mr Hancock said: "From construction workers to emergency plumbers, from research scientists to those in manufacturing, the expansion of access to testing will protect the most vulnerable and help keep people safe."
To apply for a test, head to the government website.
Where can I get tested?
At least 96 new pop-up facilities manned by the military will travel to care homes, police stations, prisons and benefits centres.
There are currently 29 mobile testing facilities up and running across the country.
There are plans for 50 to be open by the end of the month.
What if I don't drive?
Brits without a car will be offered a home test, including swabs and instructions – with 1,000 kits sent out daily before the scheme is ramped up.
They will be delivered by Amazon within 24 hours, before being collected the next day by Royal Mail.
All those tested will get their results by text within 48 hours of having their swab taken.
Where are the drive-through test centres?
There are now 29 Regional Test Sites set up by the Department of Health and Social Care:
- Birmingham (Midland Metropolitan)
- Milton Keynes
- NHS Nightingale London
The Department of Health and Social Care is currently supporting 13 NHS trusts with satellite test sites for their staff (located in: Bexhill; Bognor Regis; Bradford; Chester; Coventry; Crewe; Huddersfield; Kendal; Lincolnshire; Liverpool; Manchester; Sandwell and Wakefield).
Can I get tested?
The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a new web portal for employers and self-referral for key workers and their families.
Anyone can check if they are eligible and where they can get a test at www.gov.uk/coronavirus. A helpdesk will be set up to deal with inquires too.
Swab testing kits for the general public are currently not available – but Public Health England has said a small number of tests will be trialled in a laboratory before being distributed by Boots and Amazon.
Some tests are being sold privately, but it is advised that you check to make sure they have MHRA approval before purchasing.
Yet, if you have at least two symptoms – especially dry and persistent cough or high temperature – you will likely qualify to be tested at a hospital.
If you believe that you have symptoms, please check online first and call 111 to get advice before leaving your home.
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