Boots to launch 12-minute in-store coronavirus test

26 October 2020, 05:52 | Updated: 26 October 2020, 07:31

File photo: Piccadilly branch of Boots in London
File photo: Piccadilly branch of Boots in London. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Boots is set to unveil a new coronavirus testing service it says can return results from swab tests in just 12 minutes.

The pharmacy chain said the LumiraDx devices, which are able to quickly process swab tests to give customers same-day results, will be rolled out in selected stores over the next few weeks.

The tests will initially cost £120, but this could fall if demand grows.

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Boots has also launched a 48-hour testing service which is currently available in 10 stores across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with plans to extend the programme to more than 50 outlets across the nation.

The service is available as a private pre-flight test for customers who require one before travelling abroad, or as a solution for those who would prefer peace of mind before seeing friends and family.

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The news came as the UK as recorded 19,790 more Covid-19 cases on Sunday, with a further 151 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.

The head of the Office for National Statistics Professor Sir Ian Diamond said it was too early to say the spread of the disease was slowing, despite some positive signs in the latest data.

Seb James, managing director of Boots UK and ROI, said the programme was being implemented as a way to help ease the pressure on the nation's health services.

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.

"As part of the UK High Street for over 170 years, Boots is proud to serve on the front line alongside the NHS and we will continue to do our part to support the nation's healthcare needs during this challenging time and beyond.

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Customers who are not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms can book an in-store test through the company's website boots.com.

It was revealed on Sunday that contacts of people infected with coronavirus may have to self-isolate for as little as seven days amid concerns in Whitehall about the levels of public compliance with the Test and Trace system.

Officials on the Government's Covid-19 taskforce are understood to be examining the case for reducing the current fortnight period of isolation to between 10 days and a week.

The move, which would not apply to those who test positive for the disease, comes amid growing dissatisfaction with the performance of the system from ministers and MPs.

Boris Johnson was said to have become "disillusioned" with statistics provided by the service after they proved to be wrong, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Test and Trace - headed by the Conservative peer Baroness Harding - last week hit a record low with just 59.6% of the contacts of people who tested positive for the disease being successfully contacted and told to self-isolate.

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