politics

Take a lateral flow test before Christmas shopping or parties, government guidance suggests


The new guidance comes as the World Health Organisation fears the fresh Covid wave will increase Covid deaths in Europe over the coming months

Brits should take a lateral flow test before setting off for Christmas shopping or parties, Government guidance has indicated.

The new guidance does not explicitly say people should take the rapid Covid tests before shopping or partying, but it references “crowded spaces” even if people are wearing masks.

It comes with a new warning, which says people are more likely to catch or pass on Covid if they are in crowded spaces where there is “limited fresh air”.

Previously people had been advised to use lateral flow tests twice-weekly.

The guidance 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.








Brits have been urged to take lateral flow tests before going into crowded settings
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Image:

In Pictures via Getty Images)



“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.”

It comes as the World Health Organisation said Europe could experience more than two million Covid-19 deaths by March.

Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said: “In order to live with this virus and continue our daily lives, we need to take a ‘vaccine plus’ approach.

“Taken together, wearing a mask, washing hands, ventilating indoor spaces, keeping physical distance and sneezing into your elbow are simple, effective ways of gaining control over the virus and keeping societies going.”

But Tory Ministers are thought to be largely unconcerned with Britain being affected by the wave of Covid hitting Europe.

Boris Johnson has said there is no need to introduce fresh lockdown restrictions despite rising cases across the continent.

“Of course we are concerned about the potential from that disease,” Mr Johnson said speaking at the CBI conference.

“You have got to be humble in the face of nature but at the moment we see nothing in the data to say that we need to move from plan A to plan B, or any other plan.

“The best single thing you can all do is get your booster. When you are called forward to get it, please do so.”








The Prime Minister insists there is still no need to introduce Covid ‘plan B’ measures
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Image:

POOL/AFP via Getty Images)



But the Shadow Health Secretary fears the second jab rate needs to drastically increase to avoid another winter lockdown.

Jonathan Ashworth told Sky News: “There are still parts of the country where the second jab rate, like Leicester or Blackburn, still isn’t good enough. We really need to drive that up.

“And of course you need to put in other protections as well. So the ball is in ministers’ court really. They’ve got to put these protections in place to avoid further restrictions, but I definitely do not want another one of Boris Johnson’s lockdowns.”

The number of weekly registered deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales has passed a thousand for the first time in eight months, figures show.

There were 1,020 deaths registered in the week ending November 12 where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Layla Moran MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus -1>Coronavirus, said: “It’s bewildering that before considering basic and effective preventative measures like mask wearing and social distancing, the government has leapfrogged ahead to advise the much more onerous lateral flow testing for Christmas shoppers.

“Cases and deaths have been unacceptably high in the UK since the summer and Ministers must take responsibility and offer serious solutions to avoid another cancelled Christmas.”

A Government spokesperson said: “Taking a free rapid lateral flow test will give you peace of mind that you are unlikely to be infectious and able to spread Covid-19.

“It remains vital to get vaccinated and continue to take other preventative measures such as regular hand washing, wearing a face mask and keeping spaces ventilated when meeting people indoors.”


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