UK government makes self-test for Covid at home easy: British-Vietnamese

By Thanh Tam, Trung Nhan   July 30, 2021 | 02:17 am PT
Despite being fully vaccinated, LiLy Vu, who lives in Leeds, the U.K., still tests herself twice a week at home for Covid-19 as health officials recommend for pregnant women.

"I started testing myself ... about two months ago," she said.

"I recently received the second jab. The first shot was about four weeks ago. Apart from feeling sore in my arm, I didn't have any reaction after the inoculation."

A self-testing for Covid-19 in the U.K. shows negative results. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

A self-test for Covid-19 using free kits provided by the British government shows negative. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

She said the government encourages people to test themselves at home and distributes free test kits at pharmacies and supermarkets and online.

"I usually order online. Each time I order a box of seven kits and test every 24 hours. Delivery only takes one to two days. Everything is very fast, convenient and completely free."

Testing at home is much faster and more convenient than at medical centers, she said.

"The test takes 1-2 minutes and provides the results in 30 minutes. If positive, the kit will show two lines, negative is one line.

"Then I submit the results to the government website and they will send the confirmation via email or text. If you go to places that require testing, like hospitals, you just have to show the results."

But the testing centers are also very well operated, she said.

"You have to register online first and then go to the center for testing, so there won't be a case of jostling and waiting."

The U.K. lifted the last Covid-19 restrictions on July 19 and has chosen to live with the disease.

However, the number of deaths has dropped sharply compared to the past, and many experts attribute this to the effectiveness of the vaccine. Of the 66 million population, 69 percent have had at least one shot and 55 percent have had both.

A box of Covid-19 self-testing kit at home in the U.K. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

A box of Covid-19 self-testing kit used in the U.K. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Although vaccination rates in the U.K. are relatively high, Oanh Nguyen, another British-Vietnamese person, is still worried since many people no longer wear masks.

She said she had one shot of the vaccine in early June and is scheduled to get the second early next month.

She lives in Northampton, nearly 100 kilometers from London.

"Now when I go to the supermarket, only about 50 percent of customers wear masks."

She also tests for Covid at home due to work requirements. "If I want to go to work, I have to submit a negative test result."

In Britain, when a person tests positive at home, they need to immediately self-isolate and order a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kit or go to a medical center to confirm the results.

Those who order the kit home will receive a sample strip and a dedicated biological vial. After taking a sample of oropharyngeal fluid by themselves based on the instructions, they have to put the sample in a jar, seal it and send it to a dedicated laboratory for PCR testing.

If the PCR test is also positive, they will continue to self-isolate for 10 days at home under the supervision of health authorities.

Breaking quarantine rules could result in a fine of £1,000 (over $1,370) the first time and up to £10,000 for a repeat offense.

Oanh said this home rapid test result is currently only valid in the U.K., and if people want to go abroad they still have to take a PCR test.

"I don't really trust the quick test results at home, but getting tested regularly makes me feel more secure."

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