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Large supply of lateral flow tests due in Island

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More than 120,000 lateral flow home tests kits will be made available to the general public next week, to support the Manx community in learning to live with and adapt to COVID-19.

All community pharmacies are currently out of stock following a delivery of supplies to the Island yesterday. Residents are asked not to visit pharmacies to request kits for the time being, or phone pharmacies, so that staff can deliver essential services to the public.  

To date, 40,000 LFD packs have been collected by Island residents, with pharmacies playing a major role in their distribution.

The use of lateral flow devices (LFDs) aligns with the government’s current mitigation strategy, and the proposal to move away from PCR exit tests for those who have tested positive for the virus.

The home tests kits were initially provided to close contacts of positive cases, offering peace of mind for many residents when the rules on self-isolation were lifted earlier this month.

As wider testing becomes commonplace and in order to ensure a ready supply of LFDs for those who need them most, members of the public should not seek to stockpile the kits, and are asked to consider the circumstances in which lateral flow tests are most useful.

It is important that people with symptoms of coronavirus avoid visiting pharmacies – they should stay at home and contact 111 to arrange a swab test, either by phone or by using the online booking request form.

Minister for Health and Social Care David Ashford said:

‘Testing using lateral flow devices is becoming a feature of our ‘new normal’. As border and isolation restrictions are gradually removed this type of testing is important, so that people can assess their individual circumstances and make the right choices for themselves and their families.  

‘People will be able to check their Covid status for any reason – for instance when planning to visit someone who is vulnerable or in poor health, or for work purposes. I would like to thank the staff at our community pharmacies for their sterling work in helping provide LFD test kits to the public. I understand how much extra demand this has added, and I am very grateful or their efforts, patience and professionalism in helping the public on the ‘front line’.  

People using the home test kits are encouraged to confirm a negative result anonymously online via the Covid website helping government to assess trends of coronavirus transmission among the general public and inform its ongoing response to the pandemic. 

Anyone who tests positive should isolate immediately and contact 111, either by calling or using the online swab test booking request form.’

Availability of stock in the Island is dependent on deliveries to the government’s UK supplier and any delays in the supply chain can affect the timing of supplies arriving here.

The public are asked not to request more than one pack of LFD tests at a time. A list of pharmacies and additional pick-up points around the Island will be announced when delivery of the next large consignment of test kits to the Island is confirmed. Patients should confirm their pharmacy is participating in the distribution of LFDs before attending.