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Coronavirus testing scheme open to pharmacy staff

The new coronavirus testing programme announced over the weekend will be available to community pharmacy staff, PSNC has confirmed. Further details are to follow as they become available.

The tests will be free and will allow those who test negative for coronavirus to return to work. They will be available from drive-through locations, not to purchase from retail outlets, says PSNC.

The government has been working with industry and universities to significantly scale up testing. A partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific, Amazon, Boots, Royal Mail and Randox, alongside the Wellcome Trust and top UK universities, is being put in place to boost testing capacity for frontline workers.

Dozens of universities, research institutes and companies across Britain are lending their testing equipment to three new hub laboratories which will be set up for the duration of the crisis.

The first lab underwent validation over the weekend and is expected to enter operation straight away, initially processing around 800 samples. It will be scaled up every week from now on, with two other hub laboratories being stocked with equipment and opening soon.

The first samples to be processed in the labs will be taken from frontline health workers. As the labs’ capacity increases, other frontline workers will be tested.

The samples will be taken at special sites set up around the country, initially in coronavirus hotspots such as London. Boots has set up two testing centres, one in Nottingham and the other in Chessington, London

Work is also underway to source more testing kits, of which there is a worldwide shortage.

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