Children: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 5th October 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on prioritising covid-19 testing for children without covid-19 symptoms who are asked to remain at home as a result of a positive covid-19 case being confirmed in their school bubble.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

It is vital that children and school staff only get a test if they develop symptoms of COVID-19, with the exception of those who have specifically been asked to do so by a clinician. The test is most effective for those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The latest clinical advice is that testing of individuals without symptoms should be used where clinically appropriate, predominantly for outbreak investigation and infection control. This risk based approach is essential to ensure testing is targeted where it is most effective.

Testing capacity is the highest it has ever been, but there is currently a significant demand for tests. The NHS Test and Trace system must stay focused on testing those with true symptoms of COVID-19.? Anyone who is self isolating as a result of being a close contact of a confirmed case but does not have symptoms should not request a test. This includes if that case was identified in a school or college. All children who are attending an education or childcare setting have access to a test if they display symptoms of COVID-19 and are encouraged to get tested.

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