PARENTS and carers are being encouraged to make use of new rapid Covid-19 test kits which could help save lives.

Free home test kits are now available to collect for adults in families with primary, secondary and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, as well as households for adults who work in schools.

While schools and colleges will be providing test kits for their pupils, they will not be providing test kits to families.

Secondary school and college students will be tested twice a week, receiving three initial tests at school or college, before transitioning to twice-weekly home testing.

READ MORE: Symptom-free Covid-19 testing launches at pharmacies and test sites in Sussex

Up to one in three people with Covid-19 show no symptoms, and public health director Alistair Hill has urged families to start taking regular tests twice a week to help reduce the spread of the virus.

He said: “By everyone playing their part and getting tested regularly, public services, workplaces and educational settings can stay open and running, and we can move closer to a more normal way of life.

“Testing family members provides another layer of reassurance to parents and education staff that schools are as safe as possible.

“The rapid tests help uncover hidden cases of the virus and break chains of transmission, stopping outbreaks before they occur, and they are a vital tool to help us lower infection rates and ensure that they stay low.

“I would encourage all eligible households to take up the offer of twice weekly rapid testing – it’s quick and painless and could help save lives.

“The tests don’t identify everybody who is infected with Covid-19 so it is important that people continue to follow the Covid-19 guidelines and think hands-space-space, in order to protect themselves and others.”

The new test kits can be collected from three testing sites in the city, at Preston Park, East Brighton Park and the the former King's School site at the junction between Mile Oak Road and the High Street in Portslade.

Collections can be made between 1pm and 8pm every day. No booking is required but residents are advised to check the NHS Rapid Test Collection and Vaccination Site Finder website for availability.

It comes after symptom-free testing has been made available at Hove Town Hall, Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre or participating pharmacies across Sussex this week.

Those who cannot work from home are urged to start using the new community testing facility, which offers rapid lateral flow tests.

To find a test centre and check the availability to collect home test kits, visit the website here.

More information on symptom-free testing in Brighton and Hove is available on the council website.