Asked why they are being offered during this time, Professor Buchan replied: “This fast speed and large potential scale of identifying infectious people is a way of making the opening up of businesses and social spaces safer after lock-down, provided all of the people using the tests understand that a negative result is not a signal to stop paying attention to hands, face, space.
“The flexibility and low cost of testing means that local public health teams can work with communities to make best use of the tests as the needs for testing change over time with phases of the pandemic.
“Similarly, business and workplaces have flexibility to work with their staff and customers to make testing fit their business, in consultation with public health authorities.
“As home test kits and apps to read test results become common the testing flexibility should increase further.
“Rapid testing is about helping reduce risks by identifying people who are infectious, enabling them to isolate and not pass on the virus.
“Vaccines and tests work together to protect society and reduce risks. If testing is applied well, as part of comprehensive public health programmes, it will also preserve vaccines, because faster spreading virus is more likely to become smarter in evading or escaping new vaccines.”