‘TESTING is for everyone’ – that’s the message from the Royal Borough’s health lead who is urging people to get tested to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus in the UK has been decreasing over the past few weeks while the vaccination programme continues to ramp up.

Over half of the UK’s population has received their first Covid-19 jab and more than 12 million are fully vaccinated.

Despite the programmes being the ‘ultimate nuclear weapon’ to suppress the virus, the Royal Borough’s health lead, councillor Stuart Carroll, who is also an epidemiologist and on the UK’s vaccine task force, has urged residents to continue to get tested to pushback and control Covid-19 even further.

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He said: “Testing is not only for people on the frontline or those who can’t work from home. It’s for all of us.

“There are also home tests available for people to collect and we have lateral flow testing, and I think people need to really seek to utilise and take advantage of that testing as much as possible.

“Testing allows us to identify positive cases, gives reassurance that someone is negative, and if someone is positive, it’s vital that they isolate and quarantine as per the guidance.

“If people are going out for a drink at a pub, or to a restaurant, or engaged in a sporting activity, getting tested before and after is really important to make sure that you’re not going to any of these places with the virus and that you’ve picked it up.”

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Coronavirus figures both in the Royal Borough, Berkshire and England have been going down even after the reopening of non-essential retail, pubs, and restaurants.

In the last seven days, 29 cases were recorded in the borough and its current weekly rate per 100,000 population is 27.1.

Cllr Carroll thinks it’s a combination of the testing regime, the vaccination programme, and a majority of people following public health protocols that are suppressing the virus.

Despite cases decreasing, Cllr Carroll warned people not to become complacent and think the ‘war is won’ as the pandemic is still not over.

He said: “Although, as things stand, we’ve managed to push back the virus back significantly in this country, we still have to remain hesitant against the virus and the potential for new variants to come into the mix is a significant risk.

“Therefore, all of these measures remain critical and it’s really important we don’t drop our guard at this important time.”