A man puts the swab in a container after taking his own COVID-19 swab test at a newly set-up testing facility in a car park in West Ealing, London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. British health authorities plan to test tens of thousands of people in a handful of areas of England in an attempt to stop a new variant of the coronavirus first identified in South Africa spreading in the community. The Department of Health says a small number of people in England who had not travelled abroad have tested positive for the strain. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

A man puts the swab in a container after taking his own COVID-19 swab test at a newly set-up testing facility in a car park in West Ealing, London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. British health authorities plan to test tens of thousands of people in a handful of areas of England in an attempt to stop a new variant of the coronavirus first identified in South Africa spreading in the community. The Department of Health says a small number of people in England who had not travelled abroad have tested positive for the strain. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

All U.K. children to get free COVID-19 test kits as schools prepare to reopen

The tests will also be offered to adults working with schools, including bus drivers

Britain’s government says families with children in school will be provided with free coronavirus home test kits as part of plans for schools to reopen beginning on March 8.

Free, twice-weekly tests will be provided to children’s households regardless of whether anyone has symptoms, officials said Sunday. The tests will also be offered to adults working with schools, including bus drivers.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said testing family members will provide “another layer of reassurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible.” Schools in England have been closed except to children of key workers since January.

Britain is also racing ahead with its vaccination program, with almost 20 million in the U.K. who have now had a first jab. Some 2 million people aged 60 to 63 in England will start getting invitations to book their shots beginning on Monday. The government aims to offer a first jab to all adults by the end of July.

Britain has Europe’s worst virus death toll at nearly 123,000 dead.

ALSO READ: WWII plane fly-past honours U.K. Captain Tom Moore at his funeral

The Associated Press


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