In the week leading up to April 21, almost six million rapid Covid tests were carried out in England, new figures show – an increase of more than a million from the previous week.
As of April 9, everyone in England has been entitled to rapid coronavirus tests twice a week.
Rapid tests – or LFD (Lateral Flow Device) tests – are swab tests that provide results in 30 minutes or less, without the need for laboratory processing.
Most of these tests are done under supervision in facilities such as schools, nursing homes, and workplaces, although some can now be done by individuals in their homes.
Individuals taking a home test are expected to report the result to the NHS.
All positive rapid tests must be followed by a Confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, which are swab tests that are analyzed in a laboratory.
According to the latest test and trace numbers, just under 5.8 million rapid tests were carried out in England in the seven days up to April 21.
That’s an increase from nearly 4.8 million the previous week.
The number of rapid tests peaked at just over 7.6 million in the week ended March 17, which coincided with the return of secondary school students to school.
The number fell in the weeks that followed before rising again from early April.
The numbers also show that 962,997 PCR tests were performed in the week ended April 21.
A total of 16,776 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England in the seven days up to April 21.
That’s a 9% decrease from the previous week and the lowest number since the week ended September 2, 2020.