Coronavirus: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Oates Lord Oates Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a COVID-19 test comprising of a swab of the back of the throat and the nose, (1) taken at the same time, (2) at the same testing venue, and (3) from the same person, is counted as (a) one test, or (b) two tests. [T]

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

For the purposes of diagnosing COVID-19, we are using Polymerase Chain Reaction tests that involve a nasopharyngeal swab sample taken from the back of the nose and throat, searching for virus DNA in the sample.

Tests that do not reach far enough back or swab just the nose or throat alone are likely to be less effective as there is a lower likelihood of collecting the virus in the sample material. For this reason, we recommend both clinician-administered and self-administered tests available for home testing swab both the nose and throat. This will count as a single test.

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