Routine asymptomatic testing to be paused in last remaining care settings

The requirement for regular asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing (lateral flow testing), will be paused across all remaining health and social care settings, from the end of August. 

Lateral flow tests were used comprehensively during the COVID-19 pandemic to identify people who were likely to have the virus but who weren’t showing any symptoms.  

For the general public, they stopped being required in April, when the government launched its Living with COVID plan, but regular testing continued to be used in some health and care settings while case rates were high. 

With case rates falling, the government has said that routine testing of people with no symptoms in those remaining settings can now be ‘paused’; although testing for people with symptoms, including health and social care staff, will continue. 

People who are immunocompromised and in hospital, or being admitted to care homes or hospices, will also continue to be tested. 

Case rates in Devon have fallen – currently around one in every 40 people in the south-west have COVID-19 – but the expectation is that they are likely to rise again this autumn and winter. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said that it’s important that certain groups are offered booster vaccinations this autumn, including: 

  • health and social care staff 
  • everyone aged 50 years old and over 
  • carers who are over the age of 16 years old
  • people over five whose health puts them at greater risk, including pregnant women 
  • people over five who share a house with somebody with a weakened immune system 

“It’s important that those invited to come forward for their booster jab this autumn do so, to give them optimum protection from the virus over the winter months,” says Steve Brown, our Director of Public Health Devon. 

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