Two friends sit on the sea wall on a warm sunny Easter Sunday at Chalkwell Beach on April 4, 2021 in Southend-on-Sea, England.
John Keppel | Getty Images News | Getty Images
LONDON – Everyone in England can have two Coronavirus disease Free tests every week as the UK government doubles down on its efforts to reopen the economy.
Test results are given in approximately 30 minutes. People who live in England will be able to order the exams online Or collected locally, the government announced Monday. The scheme, set to start on Friday, comes as the country prepares to reopen shops and bars in less than 10 days. Most of them have been closed since late 2020.
“This is a very important step forward and another step that will help us ease those restrictions in order to return to normal life in this country,” British Health Minister Edward Argar told Sky News on Monday.
England has been in lockdown since late December, but for a week, people were allowed to meet outside in groups of up to six. At least three more reference dates are approaching before all legal restrictions on social contact are removed, and hopefully by the end of June.
However, the plan to fully reopen the economy will depend on the development of the epidemic, as well as on the country’s vaccination program.
To date, more than 31 million people in the UK have received their first dose. More than 5 million people have now received their second vaccine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to speak at 5 pm UK time on Monday and outline plans for international travel rules.
For now, international travel is restricted until May 17. Reports indicate that once overseas travel is permitted, quarantine rules will rely on a “traffic light system” – meaning that those traveling to countries on the “green” list will not be required to be isolated upon their return to the UK.
However, pre- and post-arrival testing will likely remain in place, even when arriving from a destination perceived as low-risk.
The prime minister is also expected to mention coronavirus passports – documents that will clarify whether a person has been vaccinated, or has recently tested negative for coronavirus or had normal immunity.