Johnson said the new mass testing program will break the chain of transmissions by detecting cases without symptoms.
While much of Europe is entering new lockdowns to deal with rising cases, Johnson has put in place a staggered plan to ease restrictions in the coming months, a major boost for one of the most affected countries during the pandemic.
“As we continue to make good progress in our vaccine program and with our roadmap to cautiously alleviate ongoing restrictions, regular rapid testing is even more important to ensure that these efforts are not wasted,” Johnson said in a statement.
According to the government, the tests will be sent to homes and businesses, or picked up at pharmacies and testing centers.
The increase in testing will help health officials track the pandemic as the country slowly reopens after a rigid four-month lockdown.
Johnson is expected to confirm that the retail, outdoor hospitality and hairdressing sectors will be able to reopen on April 12 in England, while a color system will be used for international travel based on countries’ levels of infection and vaccination.
Vaccine “passports” are also being tested so that people can attend public events.
The UK is in a position to seek an economic recovery after applying doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines to well over half the adult population.
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