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New ‘on the spot’ coronavirus test being trialled

A coronavirus test that can give results in 20 minutes is being trialled, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

The swab test, which will tell people if they currently have coronavirus, has proved effective in clinical settings and does not need to be sent to a laboratory to be processed.

Currently, test results should take up to two to three days to be returned, but there has been some criticism that people have waited days or weeks for their results.

Image: The current tests need to be sent to a lab for processing

The health secretary said the new test, if trialled successfully, could "change the way that we control COVID-19 across the country, getting those with negative results back into society as quickly as possible".

During the government's daily news briefing, Mr Hancock said the new test will be trialled on a smaller scale to "monitor its effectiveness" and if it works "we'll roll it out as soon as we can".

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The trial is beginning in Hampshire and will be rolled out in a number of settings, including A&E departments without access to laboratories, GP coronavirus testing hubs and care homes.

Up to 4,000 people of different ages and backgrounds will take part in the six-week pilot.

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The new test, produced by UK company OptiGene, could provide accurate results "almost on the spot", Mr Hancock said.

"This will enable health and care workers to carry on with their shift or immediately isolate on the same day, and could eventually offer the same benefit to the whole country," he added.

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