Rapid Covid test could mean care home family visits at Christmas

A 30-minute Covid test could see care home residents having family visits in time for Christmas, according to health officials in London.

Hammersmith & Fulham today became one of the first of 25 London councils to roll out 'lateral flow' swab tests.

The authority plans to target key workers in the west London borough's care homes, GP surgeries, schools and sheltered housing.

The tests are carried out on people with no symptoms and produce a result in 30 minutes.Existing Covid tests, involving samples being sent to a lab for analysis, can take two days to deliver a result.

The council hopes to perform 20,000 tests per week. Staff at Chiswick Nursing Centre, Ravenscourt Park were among the first to be tested.

We're going to be able to test visitors as they turn up. We're going to be able finally to ensure people can visit their family at Christmas.

Cllr Ben Coleman, Hammersmith and Fulham Council

At the moment, visitors are separated with a plastic screen. That will be dispensed with because we know the two parties are negative. We can get rid of the plastic screens, we can have a much more normal family visit.

Steve Winter, Chiswick Nursing Centre
'Fog tunnel' helps to neutralise viruses

The care home has also installed a £12,000 'fog tunnel' which sprays electrolysed water on all visitors to neutralise viruses.