Get a coronavirus test WHENEVER you feel ill – even if you don't have Covid symptoms
UP to 150,000 “healthy” Brits a day will be screened for Covid to help spot silent spreaders and ease quarantine for returning holidaymakers.
Testing capacity is set to be doubled to 500,000 daily by autumn – with a third reserved for asymptomatic people.
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Ministers are ramping up checks as they aim to prevent a second wave of infections shutting down the country.
And they hope to finally launch the long-delayed NHS contact tracing app by the end of summer.
Officials are considering using the extra swabbing capacity to check travellers returning from high-risk nations, such as Spain, and cut the need for 14-day quarantines.
Testing is seen as crucial to getting Brits back to work and reopening schools.
NHS chiefs have launched a major campaign to encourage anyone feeling “a bit rubbish” to get swabbed for the virus.
Bosses are also being encouraged to tell staff to stay at home and order a test at the first sign of illness, to slash the risk of spread.
Six out of ten Brits are currently unaware they can get a check for free.
Test and Trace chief Baroness Dido Harding said Britain needs a “national change in mindset”.
Speaking to The Sun, she said: “It's really important that we plan for the worst.
“At the moment we've got a capacity just over 200,000 tests a day. You want us to be planning for anybody with the snuffles and feeling a bit grim in the winter to be able to get a test.
“But it actually requires people to come forward. That's the way we will get back to doing more of the things we love, and the way our children get back to school.
“Lots of people feel these messages don't really apply to them. That a test isn't available for them, but actually it's everybody.
“If you feel a bit rubbish, get a test. We need a national change of mindset.”
Official data shows the number of people in England testing positive for the bug had increased for the third week running – with 4,128 confirmed cases between July 16 and 22.
Health bosses claim the rise is due to increased testing and the rate of infection remaining stable.
They also fear Covid is spreading in places like Blackburn and Oldham because large extended families are getting together.
It comes as infected Brits must now self-isolate for three extra days under strict new rules aimed at preventing a second wave.
Until now, those with the virus were told to stay indoors for seven days to limit spread.
But anyone who tests positive must not leave their home for ten days, under the latest guidance.
Government scientists claim there is a “low, but tangible possibility that patients are infectious between seven and nine days” after they fall ill.
The tougher stance comes as cases continue to spike in parts of Europe, threatening to derail plans for Brits to return to work and schools to reopen.
There are around 700 confirmed cases a day of the virus in the UK.
With everyone now able to get a Covid test, officials say only a relatively small number of people will be impacted.
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