UK school children to be provided with COVID-19 test kits as part of reopening

UK school children to be provided with COVID-19 test kits as part of reopening
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British families with school children will be given free coronavirus test kits beginning on March 8 as part of the country’s school reopening plan.

Officials said on Sunday that families will be given bi-weekly COVID-19 tests regardless of whether or not someone is experiencing symptoms, the Associated Press reports.

Testing families of school children will provide “another layer of reassurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible,” UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said.

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Since January, schools have been closed to most students, apart from the children of essential workers, the AP notes. Britain has reported the highest coronavirus death count in Europe, confirming over 122,000 deaths so far.

Britain was the first country to authorize Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine and has thus far administered 20 million first doses to its residents. The British government is hoping to offer the vaccine to all adults by July.

The U.K. coronavirus variant has caused concern for health experts around the world as it is believed to be more infectious than the pre-existing strain. Current data suggests that the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna protect against the U.K. strain.

Minnesota announced a similar COVID-19 testing program in November, with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) partnering with Vault Medical Services to provide free mail-in COVID-19 tests to Minnesota residents.

The tests will be provided to all regardless of whether or not they have insurance. If an individual in uninsured, the state will cover the cost of the test.