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Boots launches at-home PCR test priced at £65 in over 500 branches

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announcing the new travel restrictions last week

Boots has launched a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 self-testing kit, priced at £65, which can be purchased online or from more than 500 of its branches.

Advantage Card holders can also use their points to purchase the at-home test kits, offered by MyHealthChecked, the multiple said last week (May 7).

Boots also offers an in-pharmacy PCR testing service from over 200 branches, now priced at £99.

“Now that holidaymakers can start planning a summer holiday abroad, we look forward to helping them stay safe when travelling,” said Asif Aziz, director of healthcare services at Boots UK.

“With a negative COVID-19 test result becoming the norm for international travel, we have increased our testing services to make them even more accessible for customers.”

Boots approved for test-to-release scheme

Last Friday (May 7), transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the government’s latest relaxation of restrictions on travel abroad, with countries being put on either “green”, “amber” or “red” lists depending on local COVID-19 transmission rates.

Boots said that it is now an “accredited test provider” for the government’s ‘test-to-release’ scheme. As part of this voluntary scheme, travellers returning from a country that is not on the “red list” can shorten their quarantine by taking a COVID-19 test on the fifth day since their arrival in England.

Boots will be able to offer its at-home PCR tests for day two and day eight testing for international arrivals from later this month, it added.

“No endorsement” for private tests

Lloydspharmacy, Well, Superdrug and a number of other pharmacies are also on the government’s list of providers for the test-to-release scheme for international travel.

The government said its “traffic light” travel lists will be reviewed every three weeks according to the latest public health advice. It added that it will publish a “green watchlist” in the future indicating countries that have been identified as candidates for their status to be revised.

It stressed that it “does not endorse, recommend or approve any private test provider” and “individuals and employers should conduct their own research about available providers and the testing services they supply”.

Calls for private PCR test “validation”

Meanwhile, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for an independent validation process for private COVID-19 tests before they are made available to purchase.

While “tests that are provided via NHS services are already quality assured through a validation process”, the same is not legally required for private COVID-19 tests, the RPS said.

RPS chief scientist Gino Martini said: “Patients need reassurance that the COVID-19 tests they use have met high levels of checks for safety, accuracy and effectiveness.

“Without this process, we can’t be certain of the complete reliability of these tests. As a result, this can impact on how people act on the results of their tests, which could potentially put themselves and others at risk.”

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