Around 11,000 asymptomatic rapid coronavirus tests have been taken in Milton Keynes this week

    Rapid testing, even for those who do not have symptoms, will soon be part of the norm - and around 11,000 tests have been taken this week.

    This comes as key workers and households with school-age children in Milton Keynes are encouraged to do regular COVID-19 testing whether they have symptoms or not. 

    Individuals who cannot work from home during the pandemic, including taxi drivers, electricians, and shop workers, can access free rapid asymptomatic tests at the Milton Keynes Central Library.

    And all secondary school and college students will be tested twice a week when they go back to school next Monday (8/3).

    Cllr Pete Marland, the Leader of Milton Keynes Council, explained: "Next week our schools will reopen to all pupils. They have been working hard to prepare for all pupils to return to the classroom.

    "Secondary schools will be running rapid lateral flow tests and in some schools, testing has already begun."

    The Government says that as lockdown restrictions ease with the return of schools and more social mixing in March, asymptomatic rapid testing will help keep COVID-19 rates down while vaccines are being rolled out.

    There has been a big increase in rapid tests being carried out nationwide, and that trend has been replicated here in Milton Keynes.

    Cllr Marland announced that approximately 11,000 rapid tests have been taken in Milton Keynes this week alone.

    He said: "Around 11,000 rapid tests were taken in Milton Keynes last week, and 1,000 of these were at our test centre in the library.

    "Regular testing even if you haven't got symptoms is going to be part of life for some time to come. It is something we need to get used to, like masks and social distancing.

    "The main thing is that if you are in a job or situation that requires a regular test then you need to make sure that it is ongoing. It isn't something you can do once and forget about."

    Milton Keynes Council is now calling on local businesses to encourage regular testing to drive down transmission rates.

    Cllr Marland continued: "This could be as simple as providing time for employees to get a test during the working day. Businesses with more than 50 staff can run their own testing schemes. And we are offering help to learn how to test or provide advice on how to run a testing programme."

    Around one in three people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms so could be spreading the virus without knowing.

    Businesses that are interested in offering rapid COVID-19 testing can find out more information by emailing keyworkertesting@milton-keynes.gov.uk.

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