Health and pharmacy chain Boots is set to unveil a new coronavirus testing service in time for Christmas which it says can return results from swab tests in just 12 minutes.

The pharmacy chain said the LumiraDx devices are able to quickly process swab tests to give customers same-day results.

The in-store test will cost £120 and its hoped to be available in 200 high street branches in a matter of weeks ahead of the busy festive period.

Trials of the test previously showed 97 per cent accuracy, it is reported.

Seb James, managing director of Boots UK and ROI, said the programme is being implemented as a way to help ease the pressure on the nation’s health services and will be the first step towards mass testing on high streets.

He told the Daily Mail: "We don't want to make a profit out of it. We are just covering our costs as there is a big upfront outlay for all the kit.

"My thinking is that if the volume is large we will be able to bring the price down. I'm hoping lots of people will want to do it and if they do, then we can make the price more accessible.

"We believe we are the cheapest private test. We think it is pretty good value compared to others on the high street, which range from £270 at the very expensive end to about £150 in online clinics.

"Once it becomes more accessible in terms of cost it could be a very important weapon in the armoury against Covid. The £120 fees covers third party laboratory testing, courier services, digital services, staff wages and VAT."

However, there is a catch, as the tests are only available to those who don't have any Covid-19 symptoms and are just after peace of mind.

Anybody experiencing Covid-19 symptoms should not go to a Boots branch, reports the MEN.

Instead they should self-isolate, and get a test through one of the government testing centres which have been set up around the UK.

According to the Mirror, an initial 10 branches in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow will offer the 48-hour tests from this week and 50 will be added next month as the waiting time is slashed.

It is more expensive than the airport service for passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong, who can opt to pay for a rapid Covid-19 tests at £80.

Boots is already carrying out tests for passengers travelling to the UAE and is in talks with other airlines.

Customers can book through an online app.

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