As of this morning – Tuesday June 22 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has reached 305,289 with 42,647 deaths.

A weekly COVID-19 testing model using a new ‘no-swab’ saliva test is being piloted in Southampton from this week, the government has announced.

People taking part in the trial will complete coronavirus tests at home by putting their saliva into a sample pot every week to test for current infections of the virus, potentially increasing testing capacity and accessibility.

GP staff, other essential key workers, university employees and members of their households will be among the first to participate in the pilot.

Samples will be collected from homes by University of Southampton staff or returned to an agreed location on a weekly basis, and participants will receive test results within 48 hours.

According to the Department for Health and Social Care, the test has already been shown to be “highly promising” and the pilot is undertaking further validation against polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasal swabs.

It is hoped that weekly testing will help detect more cases early on, and thus enable affected household to lock down more quickly to help rein in the spread of the virus.

“The health, social and economic impacts of lockdown cannot be underestimated. Through this initiative we believe we can contribute to safely restoring economic activity within the city and region during national relaxation measures, whilst enabling people to regain their lives, work and education,” said Professor Keith Godfrey, University of Southampton.

The pilot will run for up to four weeks.