The government’s roadmap out of lockdown is going to plan, and the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines are proving a success, but that doesn’t meant we are out of the woods yet.
Around one in three people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading it without knowing, so it is still vital we do what we can to stop the spread of the virus as ‘normal’ life resumes, and rules allow us to start mixing with more people again.
This includes a return to the classroom for 94% of primary school children and 89% of secondary school children in England.
That’s why all adults over 18, including parents with nursery, school or college age children, are encouraged to take a rapid test twice weekly, and secondary school children are being given kits so they can test at home.
So far, over 43 million rapid tests have been carried out, identifying over 130,000 people with Covid-19 who were not experiencing symptoms. These are cases which would otherwise never have been identified.
With results in just 30 minutes, these rapid lateral flow tests are a fast and easy way to find out if you have the virus – though for some the biggest hurdle might be introducing them into the kids’ routine without too much of a fight.
Here, Mirror journalist, Paul, reveals how he managed to get his sons on board…
“When it comes to a tricky parenting moment with my two boys, I generally call on the help of Manchester United.
Like thousands of families across the country, we’ve been taking part in home Covid-19 testing after the return to school earlier this month.
In theory, this means that we are joining the common fight against the pandemic, doing our bit for the country.
But in practice, it means trying to convince two schoolboys (aged 11 and 14) to push a cotton wool bud to the back of their throat.
There’s no getting away from the fact that it isn’t very pleasant, particularly to begin with, and trying to appeal to their sense of national duty didn’t really cut it.
So instead I turned to Manchester United. As it happens, I’m not even a fan – I support Leeds, it’s a long story – but both our sons were born a couple of miles from Old Trafford and are Reds fanatics.
“Did you know that the United players like Bruno and Paul Pogba have to do this test every day so they are allowed to train and play in matches?”, I casually mentioned. I’m not entirely sure this is true but it seemed to do the trick.
After the first couple of tests, both of our sons will now complete a Covid test without hesitation and it has become a part of our weekly routine.
Monday night is football training, clean hamster cage and Covid test for son number 1. His brother has football training on Tuesday, then Covid test Wednesday. Back to the first son on Thursday night just after volleyball practice and then the final one of the week is Sunday night after bath time.
We have a spot on the kitchen table which is our testing zone. It is sprayed with disinfectant, we wash our hands, do the test and then ask Alexa to tell us when 30 minutes has passed (we learned the hard way that we needed this reminder).
When the result is checked – it’s been negative every time so far – then it’s onto the phone to report the result on the government website and also report the result to school.
Our two sons go to different secondary schools but both schools have supplied the test packs for them to bring home and my wife also ordered some more testing kits online for our own tests. We have ended up having to mark names on the blue and white boxes so we know which ones from the pile to use.
One of the schools sends a reminder email on the night the test is due, which has been handy. But we have now reached the point where our sons know which night it is their turn for a Covid test.”