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Coronavirus tests are available for free if you have COVID-19 symptoms, have been asked to get a test by a local council or if you are taking part in a Government pilot project. The results of your test are typically returned the next day but can take up to three days. But for those who want their tests much quicker, Boots will soon offer a 12-minute coronavirus test, so how do they work?
What is the current NHS covid-test process?
You are entitled to get a free NHS test if one of the following conditions apply:
- You have a high temperature
- You have a new, continuous cough
- You have lost your sense of smell or taste or it has changed
- You have been asked to by a local council
- You are taking part in a government pilot project.
You may also be asked to get a test if you are due to have surgery or a hospital procedure.
You are not entitled to a free NHS test if you do not have symptoms or meet any of the above conditions, but you are entitled to pay for a private test.
How does the 12-minute covid test work?
Pharmacy chain Boots will soon offer a coronavirus testing service which it claims can deliver results from tests in just 12 minutes.
Boots said the LumiraDx devices are able to quickly process swab tests to give customers rapid same-day results.
The test works much in the same way as the free NHS test where a nasal swab is taken.
The nose swab sample is then analysed and results provided in 12 minutes.
This rapid test will not be authorised as a sufficient pre-flight test required by some travellers.
This is because the results will be processed through an in-store machine rather than a registered laboratory.
A separate 48-hour testing service launched by Boots will be eligible as a pre-flight service.
This testing service will be available in 10 Boots outlets including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
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Seb James, Boots’ UK managing director, said the testing service was being introduced in a bid to ease the burden on the NHS.
He said: “Boots has supported the government’s Covid-19 testing programme from the very start and offering this new in-store service is the next step in our efforts to fight against the pandemic.
“We hope that by offering this testing option in local community stores, Boots can help ease pressure on the NHS and the government by providing additional access to testing and crucial reassurances for people across the UK.”
The accuracy of the 48-hour test is more than 99 percent.
However, the 12-minute test is estimated to be between 97 and 98 percent according to Mr James.
He told Sky News: “It is slightly less accurate (than the 48-hour test) but not so much that it matters.”
How to get a test
These tests are due to be rolled out in selected stores over the next few weeks.
The price for this private test will be £120, which Boots said would make it one of the cheapest private coronavirus tests on the market.
A Boots spokesman said the price could alter depending on demand.
Customers who are not displaying any coronavirus symptoms will be able to book in-store testing using the Boots website.
However, those with symptoms are asked by the retailer not to come into stores.
Instead, they must adhere to Government guidance and isolate.
According to the NHS website: “If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus, you’ll usually need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.”
You usually need to self-isolate for 14 days if someone you live with or in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive or if you have been told to do so by NHS Test and Trace.
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