health

Brits ‘should take Covid test before going Christmas shopping’, Government says


SHOPPERS are reportedly to be urged by the Government to take a Covid test before going on Christmas shopping trips. 

It would be the first time the public has been advised to take a rapid lateral flow test before going to high-risk settings and is reportedly part of measures to prevent a fourth wave. 

Guidance is reportedly set to change as Christmas shopping gets underway

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Guidance is reportedly set to change as Christmas shopping gets underwayCredit: Reuters

Previously Government advice has focused on taking two tests a week, or before meeting someone who might be vulnerable to serious illness if they caught the virus.

But the i Newspaper reports changes to the Cabinet Office guidance could include people taking a lateral flow test before they go Christmas shopping.

This is particularly so when going to busy stores and shopping centres, even if most people are wearing masks.

Previous advice included people taking a test after visiting a high-risk place rather than before.

Other changes to the guidance include a new warning about busy indoor places, with limited fresh air, are places where you could catch or pass the virus.

It states: “You may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test if it is expected that there will be a period of high risk that day. 

“This includes spending time in crowded and enclosed spaces, or before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get Covid-19.”

The new advice is being introduced as the Government tries to avoid a Plan B measures which would include urging pe

The restrictions listed under Plan B are introducing mandatory Covid passports, making face coverings compulsory again and advising people to work from home.

Triggers could include hospitalisations, rapid rates of change in figures plus signs the NHS is not coping.

It comes as Europe is ramping up investigations into new Covid variants as cases across the continent surge.

Numerous European countries have already slapped lockdown-style restrictions onto citizens as the Christmas period approaches.

FEARS OF NEW COVID VARIANT

The new Covid wave sweeping the continent could potentially be the result of a more stealthy strain of the coronavirus, experts say.

But the pressure of evolution on the virus – from new cases and vaccinations – may also force a new strain to emerge.

Called “selection pressure”, it happens when increasing immunity in the population favours a new variant that can escape the body’s defences.

Countries in Europe are ramping up virus sequencing efforts to address the risk, Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said.

Asked if she is worried about a new variant emerging, Dr Ammon told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “With the high transmission ongoing right now, there is always the risk of a new variant, yes. 

“So we are really monitoring very closely, we are supporting the countries in ramping up their sequencing efforts to make sure that if there is a variant, that it’s detected very early.”

A further 44,917 people tested positive for Covid-19 today – a 23 per cent increase compared to this day last month.

Britain will be the first country in the world to beat Covid, former vaccine minister predicts

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