- Schools, businesses and workplaces could be closed in areas that see spikes in infection rates, according to the UK government’s plan to ease social distancing across the school system and greater economy in June.
- A Test and Trace system will start this week Thursday to test anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, which now include loss of taste and smell. Following a positive test result, people will have to make a list of any people and places they have been in contact with.
- A Test can be ordered online once filling out an online form or CALLING 119. But expect delays. Here are some common answers to those struggling to get a test.
- Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough; high temperature; and now also a loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste can book a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
- 21,000 contact tracers in England now recruited to track 10,000 new cases a day as of 1 June, 2020.
- BBC Health Correspondent Nick Triggle says it was unlikely to be a “fully-functioning perfect system” by then.
Nick Gibb, the UK’s Schools Minister has said, according to news reports, that should donwsized classes of 15 pupils have any positive cases of coronavirus, the group of 15 students could be asked to return home to self-isolate or if there has been a lot of mixing the whole school will need to be closed.
UK National Health Service leaders are concerned there could be a second spike of COVID-19 virus infections once schools and workplaces reopen, it has also been reported.
Those concerns likely stem from the still daily reports of hundreds of coronavirus-related deaths in the UK.
The test and trace system, which starts this week Thursday, will mean anyone with symptoms is expected to contact the NHS to be tested and keep in contact with an NHS test and trace team who will get in touch to discuss who you have come into close contact with.
For a drive-through test, you or someone you live with must have a car to get to a regional test site. At-home tests can also be ordered, but they are in high demand, so the NHS says there may be a delay due to low supply. Children under five in a household with someone showing symptoms or with symptoms are not being tested as the tests “are not suitable” for their age, according to the NHS website.
Any of those contacts deemed high risk if they were to catch the virus will be instructed by the NHS to go into isolation for 14 days, according to a BBC report. However, a low risk contact will not be asked to isolate.
This puts into question, how ‘low risk’ people exposed to someone with a positive test result and showing no immediate symptoms will then continue to come in contact with others at the school pick-up and drop-off (distancing measures should be in place though), work, and shops. Should at the very least be advised to wear a face mask in public places for a 7-day period or until they show any symptoms? These are questions and cautionary solutions people may have to ask themselves for the safety of others.
The localised testing is being put in place to help detect where there may be local outbreaks – and that could result in local restrictions such as workplace and school closures.
However, despite a local approach, national call centres could be inundated with calls. People should expect delays of coordinated tests and results, which could mean delayed notification to others.