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Boots says sales of Covid-19 home test kits have risen by a third





Sales of Covid-19 home test kits have increased this month – with coronavirus cases now thought to be on the rise again.

Health officials say monitoring of the virus indicates both an increase in cases and an increase in hospital admissions – including those requiring intensive care – in the past two weeks.

People must buy a test kit now if they wish to confirm if they've got Covid-19. Image: iStock.
People must buy a test kit now if they wish to confirm if they've got Covid-19. Image: iStock.

Free mass public testing for the virus ended on April 1 last year but monitoring by the UK Health Security Agency of cases, particularly within NHS settings, and surveillance by some studies has continued.

The Zoe Health Study, which collects data from people who are self-reporting symptoms, estimates there were 606,602 people with symptomatic Covid on July 4.

By July 28 this had risen to 789,695 and was calculated to be 825,905 on Monday, July 31.

With Covid-19 tests no longer free for the public, those with symptoms who wish to confirm whether they’ve got the virus or not must instead purchase a test from a shop or pharmacy.

Boots says sales of its Covid-19 home kits rose 33% between July 16 and 22 – compared to the previous three weeks.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation at the UKHSA, said the agency was watching rates closely.

He said: “Covid-19 cases and hospital admission rates remain at low levels, though have risen very slightly in the past two weeks. We will continue to monitor these rates closely.

“The NHS will be in contact in autumn 2023 when the seasonal vaccine is available for those who are eligible due to health conditions or age. Remember that the virus can cause serious illness, especially for those who are older or immunosuppressed, so we urge everyone who is offered to take up the vaccine when offered.”

Scientists are studying a swab taken from a patient in Indonesia. Image: Stock photo.
Scientists are studying a swab taken from a patient in Indonesia. Image: Stock photo.

Last week scientists are reported to have identified a new Covid variant in Asia that could be ‘the most mutated version’ of the virus yet.

The morphed Delta variant was found in a swab from a patient, reported to have had a ‘chronic infection’ in Jakarta in early July, which was then submitted to a global Covid database.

It is understood to have 113 different mutations that could make it more successful at evading existing immunity – the Omicron variant has around 50 mutations by comparison.



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