Covid test sites will have booking slots for Christmas Day and Boxing Day as cases across the UK continue to rise
Covid test sites will be open on Christmas Day with plans to extend opening hours if there is an increase in the number of people needing a PCR test.
Test and Trace officials have confirmed that booking slots are being made available for Christmas Day and Boxing Day to ensure anyone who needs a coronavirus test over the festive period can get one.
People can book a PCR test if they have Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive on a rapid lateral flow test at home or at work.
With the number of cases continuing to rise and more people expected to use rapid result tests ahead of seeing friends and family, government officials say all test sites will remain open across the entire Christmas period and opening hours could be extended if there is an increase in demand.
PCR booking slots will also be available for New Year's Day.
Households can also order boxes of lateral flow tests every day over Christmas for either home delivery or collection - postal services and pharmacy opening hours depending - and the 119 service will also operate on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve from 7am to 6pm, and Christmas Day and New Year’s Day from 7am to 5pm. On all other days, it is available from 7am to 11pm.
NHS Test and Trace contact tracers will also continue to work throughout the festive period, with services provided online through the self-service process on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency said: "The vital work of NHS Test and Trace will not stop for Christmas. I am very grateful to every single member of our staff who, right through the pandemic, have been part of our front line services against the pandemic. They will be sacrificing time with their loved ones to make sure testing and tracing continues, with minimal disruption to our services during the festive season.
"With COVID-19 cases currently at record levels, we must continue with precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.
"If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate and take a PCR test as soon as possible. If you do not have symptoms, please take an LFD test before visiting vulnerable friends and family, and before situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on the virus. Continue to keep practising hands, face, space and increase ventilation when you are meeting indoors."
Due to Royal Mail collection times over Christmas people using home test kits will be given advice about how to return their test swabs during the festive period as some tests will need to be posted by midday on Christmas Eve and December 31. There will be no collections on Christmas Day and New Year's Day and a weekend collection service will operate between December 26 to December 28 and on January 2 and 3.