Coronavirus

Britain eyes twice weekly virus tests for all

Small socially distanced groups gather in the sunshine on Primrose Hill overlooking the buildings of central London, Sunday April 4, 2021. (Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP)

LONDON — The British government says all adults and children will be able to have routine coronavirus tests twice a week as a way to stamp out new outbreaks as the U.K. emerges from lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said regularly testing people who don’t have symptoms would help “stop outbreaks in their tracks, so we can get back to seeing the people we love and doing the things we enjoy.”

The lateral flow tests, which will be available by mail or from pharmacies, give results in minutes but are less accurate than the PCR swab tests used to officially confirm cases of COVID-19. The government insists they are reliable and will play an important role in opening up society.

The tests are being introduced as Johnson announces the next steps in the country’s road map out of its three-month lockdown. Johnson is expected to confirm later Monday that hairdressers, shops and pub and restaurant patios will reopen in England on April 12.

Johnson is unlikely to tell Britons when they will be able to go abroad on vacation — currently banned by law — though the government has said it will not be before May 17.

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