Parents who need Lateral Flow tests should refresh Government website NOW to order ahead of new school term

PARENTS who need Lateral Flow tests should refresh the Government website NOW to order before kids go back to school this week.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi insisted that test "supply will absolutely be there" for pupils gearing up for a return to classrooms after the Christmas break.

But he urged Brits to "refresh their webpages" to get the tests ASAP as more delivery slots are released online.

All students and staff are expected to be tested for the virus on day one of the spring term to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains – with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

The number of LFTs available has tripled to 300million a month ahead of the new term – allowing all kids to get tested before mingling with their peers, the education secretary said.

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A total of 28million test packs were delivered to schools between December 6 and 17 – with a further 17.6million due to be sent out by January 14.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi said: "The priority is to keep schools open.

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"The testing, the staffing support we're putting in place, and of course the ventilation is going to make a big difference to schools this year.

"The most important thing is to keep them open.

"We monitor staff absenteeism, we were running at about 8 per cent last year.

"If that rises further then we look at things like merging classes, teaching in bigger numbers."

Secondary school students will have to wear masks in lessons under new guidance.

Mr Zahawi admitted it was "more challenging, of course, to deliver education with masks on in the classroom".

But he said: "This is an aerosol-transmitted virus and if you're wearing a mask, if you're asymptomatic, then you're less likely to infect other people."

Today saw Lateral Flow tests FINALLY come back in stock after a New Year's rush lead to UK-wide shortages.

Both pharmacies and websites were struggling with supply after No 10 urged Brits to get tested before New Year's Eve.

A message on the government's website on December 30 stated that there were no lateral flow tests available for delivery slots.

It said more batches would be available from around 1pm – but they ran out within minutes.


Usually Brits would be directed to pharmacies, but people trying to access them at their local sites have in many cases, been turned away, even if they have a booking code.

Many have been forced to put up signs telling customers they have none left.

It comes as a top doc claims all Brits should self isolate – even if they only have a COLD in a move that would cripple the economy and wreak havoc on the NHS.

Sir Frank Atherton – chief medical officer for Wales – has insisted anyone with a runny nose should keep themselves locked away for "a few days".

The move would spark chaos for the already understaffed NHS – as worst estimates claim up to a quarter of public sector workers could be self-isolating because Omicron is so easy to catch.

That’s more than a million frontline staff stuck at home for seven days or more as hospitalisations rise.

Ministers are now facing calls to follow America's lead and reduce isolation to five days to free up shut-in Brits.

Sir Frank, Chris Whitty's counterpart in Wales, told Times Radio that Brits should self isolate if they have "a cold, or symptoms of a cold, runny nose or cough or are sneezing" so they don't pass the virus on.

"Looking beyond the current wave, even, we need to think about how we behave as a society when we have any of these infections," he added.

"Whether it's flu or the common cold, or coronavirus, we probably need to move to a position where anybody who has a viral infection of that nature selfisolates, whether they're an adult or a child, for a few days, just to stop it transmitting."

He said this applies to "anybody who has a cold, or symptoms of a cold, runny nose or cough, sneezing".

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