Perhaps, you’ve been avoiding the news as much as you can – and who can blame you? It seems to be just endless doom and gloom. You’re just trying to enjoy a Christmas season that you had hoped would mark an end to a terrible year. Of course, you know that isn’t true anymore but if we’re not careful, all of our hopes will seem dismally ironic by the time 2020 is done. 

So, what do you need to know? Well, the upshot is that infection rates are rising pretty uniformly across the country, although particularly in the South-East. The R-rate is not as menacing as it was before the lockdown but we’re hovering around 1, i.e. the threshold that both lockdowns were intended to stop us from going over. For small businesses, any rise in the R-rate in their zone is a problem, threatening a change in Tier which if you’re currently managing to stay open, will probably mean that you’ll have to close. Rumours about widespread changes to the status of a number of areas of the UK have been escalating. Seemingly, London is heading for Tier 3 with large segments of the South-East to follow. Apologies for the doomsday forecasts but it’s over now.

Although it might not seem that way, these projections are not set in stone. There is a simple way to help prevent closures and further lockdowns: widespread rapid testing.

Recently, Public Health England have certified a number of rapid tests. To receive accreditation, these tests have to meet world-leading standards. This means exceptionally high levels of reliability.

It must be reiterated that the exceptional reliability of these rapid tests does not mean that they perform the same function as other tests for COVID-19. For example, the tests you will receive from the NHS are PCR tests. These tests are the gold-standard for identifying traces of COVID-19 in the body. However, a certain amount of viral material must be present in the body before a person can spread the disease. Government-accredited rapid tests reliably identify if such an amount is present. 

In the PHE’s evaluation, Sir John Bell, Regis Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, said of these tests: “They identify those who are likely to spread the disease and when used systematically in mass testing could reduce transmission by 90%.”

They could reduce transmission by 90%. What might that do for our Christmases, all of us who have to weigh up the risks of spending time with family that we might not have been able to see, let alone hug, for nearly a year now? Monitoring yourself and those you hope to spend time with this Christmas with rapid tests is the best – and increasingly it looks like it may be the only – way to save Christmas and wave an eager goodbye to a terrible year. 

If you are interested in rapid tests for yourself or your workplace, take a look at our online shop, where you’ll find our range of rapid tests which are on the path to accreditation.