27/10/2021

Health Minister Highlights Importance Of Regular Rapid Testing

Around one in three people with Covid-19 show no symptoms, highlighting the importance of regular Rapid Testing, Health Minister Robin Swann has said.

Regular Rapid Testing can help identify positive cases of Covid-19 and enables people with the virus to take steps to stop them giving it to others.

Minister Swann said: "Even if you have already been vaccinated, regular Rapid Testing is important in limiting the spread of the virus, helping to protect those who are vulnerable, as well our health and social care system.

"For those who don't already test on a regular basis, I would encourage you to avail of the free Rapid Tests that are available and make testing part of your routine. Tests are now readily available for collection right across Northern Ireland and can also be ordered online for delivery straight to your door."

Free Rapid Tests are now available for:

• Collection at over 550 sites across Northern Ireland, including 504 community pharmacies

• Online home delivery

• Workforce Testing Schemes
News Image
Alongside vaccination and contact tracing, testing is one of the key pillars of protection from the virus. Also known as Lateral Flow Device tests or antigen tests, Rapid Tests provide a result within 30 minutes at home.

The Minister added: "It's important to report every test result, positive, negative or void. This data helps us understand where COVID is spreading and allows us to tackle the virus more effectively."

More than 40,000 tests were distributed by community pharmacies in the first four weeks of the service launching in September.

Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer said: "Community pharmacies have been a beacon of support in our communities throughout the pandemic. I would urge anyone who hasn't started using Rapid Tests to ask for a test kit on their next visit to a community pharmacy."

Matt Wills, Programme Director of the Rapid Testing Team said: "Rapid Tests are easy to access, simple to use and if you take a test first thing in the morning, your result will be ready before you leave the house. It is recommended that people should do a Rapid Test twice a week to check if they have the virus."

Research by NHS Test and Trace shows Rapid Tests are 99.9% accurate. That means for every 1,000 lateral flow tests carried out, there is less than one false positive result. The tests have undergone rigorous testing and evaluation to ensure they are reliable.

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 March 2020
First And Deputy First Minister Cancel NY St Patrick's Day Visit
The First and Deputy First Ministers have reportedly cancelled plans to visit New York while in the US on an official St Patrick's Day trip. According to reports, Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill are still expected to make the trip to Washington DC, but will no longer begin their trip by visiting New York.
28 February 2020
Justice Minister Encourages Reports Of Online Hate Crime
Justice Minister Naomi Long is urging victims of online hate crimes to file a report to police to allow them to get the support they need. Ms Long encouraged members of the public to "call it out" and help police catch online perpetrators at an Online Hate Crime Event at Belfast City Hall.
27 February 2020
Minister Brands Hospital Waiting Times 'Appalling'
Waiting times for consultant-led outpatient appointments in Northern Ireland's hospitals are "quite simply appalling" the Health Minister has said. Robin Swann called for sustained additional investment to tackle backlogs as it emerged that over 300,000 patients were waiting for their first appointment at the end of 2019.
25 February 2020
Minister Welcomes Health Union Breakthrough
The Health Minister has welcomed the breakthrough on pay parity and safe staffing as unions accept his offer. Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Nursing had taken industrial action for several months in dispute of pay and staffing levels.
21 February 2020
Minister Confirms 155 New Jobs For Coleraine
Some 155 jobs are to be created in Coleraine as local manufacturer Maine Surface Finishing launches a £9.5 million expansion, the Economy Minister has announced. The highly skilled roles to be filled include engineers, fabricators and welders and are "extremely positive news" for Northern Ireland's manufacturing industry, Diane Dodds said.