Government strikes back at school Covid test cancer rumors

The side-flow Covid-19 coronavirus tests used by schools are safe and will not cause cancer, the Department of Health and Social Affairs said this morning.

In a tweet, the government department said: “There are false reports that lateral flow tests can cause cancer. These rapid Covid-19 tests have been rigorously tested and are safe.

“The swabs are sterilized with ethylene oxide to ensure their safe use. It is one of the most widely used sterilization tools.”

Earlier this month, the government said a new analysis of the tests showed they are 99.9% accurate.

This came after the BBC reported that after a positive test at school, students had to isolate using the on-site controls – just for a more reliable laboratory PCR test to find them negative.

The tests help find cases in people who may not have symptoms but are still infectious and can pass the virus on to others.

They usually involve taking a sample from your tonsils (or where they would have been) and from your nose with a swab and can give a result in 30 minutes.

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