Citizens in England will get tested for coronavirus twice a week for free, the UK government announced on Monday.
The rapid tests will be offered widely to everyone at local testing stations in addition to schools and workplaces in future, dpa news agency reported citing the government as saying.
Until now, freely available rapid tests were limited to particularly vulnerable groups.
Testing was absolutely necessary in order not to jeopardise the success of the British vaccination campaign as the country started to relax the regulations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“As we continue to make good progress on our vaccine programme and with our roadmap to cautiously easing restrictions under way, regular rapid testing is even more important to make sure those efforts are not wasted,” Johnson said in a statement.
“That’s why we’re now rolling out free rapid tests to everyone across England, helping us to stop outbreaks in their tracks, so we can get back to seeing the people we love and doing the things we enjoy.”
Companies with more than 10 employees can request rapid tests for their workers, and regular testing will also continue in schools.
Private individuals will also be able to get tested at local testing stations or order tests to their homes.
Meanwhile, more than 31.4 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to official figures.
As of Monday, the UK has reported 4,371,393 confirmed coronavirus cases and 127,078 deaths.