Ministers are discouraging the public from using a coronavirus testing service offered by Boots.
A nasal swab test that costs £120 and delivers results in 12 minutes will be available at designated stores across Britain and is being marketed to people without symptoms.
The pharmacist is also offering a separate PCR test, suited to people wanting to fly abroad or to see vulnerable relatives, which will be processed in an external lab with the results delivered in 48 hours.
Chief executive Sebastian James said the devices were the first step towards mass testing on high streets and will help relieve the pressure on the NHS.
He said that they think they’re the most affordable private test and that they believe it’s pretty good value compared to others on the high street, which range from £270 at the very expensive end to around £150 in online clinics.
And that once it becomes more available in terms of cost it could be an extremely important weapon in the arsenal against COVID 19.
He added that they hoped that by offering this testing opportunity in local community stores, Boots could help relieve pressure on the NHS and the Government by delivering additional access to testing and crucial reassurances for people across the United Kingdom.
Customers can book the Boots test via an online app and tests are administered by staff in private rooms.
The equipment connects to a cloud system, which could potentially allow for fast-tracking of the disease outbreaks by health authorities.
The technology has been developed by UK based life sciences company LumiraDx, which has also struck a deal to provide supplies to the NHS in Scotland.
The test, which detects the presence of a COVID 19 antigen protein, is said to be vastly faster than other rapid tests presently being trialled, which delivers results in an average time of 90 minutes.
The rapid test comes as hundreds of thousands more people ready themselves for the imposition of the most challenging coronavirus restrictions as discussions continue between the Government and local leaders.
It was revealed on Sunday that contacts of people contaminated with coronavirus may have to self isolate for as little as seven days amid concerns in Whitehall about the levels of public compliance with the Test and Trace system.
Officials on the Government’s COVID 19 taskforce are understood to be examining the case for decreasing the current fortnight period of isolation to between 10 days and a week.
The move, which wouldn’t apply to those who test positive for the disease, come amid increasing discontent with the performance of the system from ministers and MPs, and anyone who suspects they have COVID 19 is advised to go to an NHS testing station, where results are expected in 48 hours.
However, the public needs to be clear that this is a private company doing this work, and we should also have grave concerns about how the Government is trying to privatise the NHS through the back door and that ex-Tory ministers are profiting from this.
And the issue with this testing is that it’s only good for right there and then. So, you’re paying £120 to find out if you have it, then you step out into the street and you could very well catch it, but then you’ll have a certification that says you don’t have it, which will allow you to fly to some other country.
And it seems that if you need a test like for trekking abroad, but have no symptoms, you’re not allowed to use the NHS. You can only use the NHS if you have symptoms.
Of course, the Government is advising against this, but if their system is less efficient, of course, people will access this if they’re able and inclined to pay – it’s all about supply and demand.