(Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

The Health Minister in Northern Ireland today (September 2) launched a new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service, enabling people to collect rapid Covid-19 tests from selected community pharmacies.

To date, 420 pharmacies in Northern Ireland have signed up for the scheme.

“1 in 3 people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms, or are pre-symptomatic. The introduction of the Pharmacy Collect service will significantly increase the range of locations that people who require rapid tests can access them.”

Rapid Covid-19 tests, also known as Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests, are important in detecting asymptomatic cases.

The service will supplement the existing workforce testing schemes and other community collect sites in Northern Ireland.

Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer lauded the contribution of community pharmacy teams during the pandemic, adding, “the introduction of the new Pharmacy Collect service will improve access to testing for the general public.

“Many people with Covid-19 have mild or no symptoms, but they can continue to spread the virus. Rapid tests, in conjunction with the wearing of masks, regular hand washing and social distancing, can help to prevent onward transmission of the virus.”

Rapid tests are available for anyone who requires them, and all results should be reported.

In case of a positive test result, the person should immediately self-isolate and book a confirmatory PCR test, the government said.

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