COVID-19 testing extended to all key workers in England who have symptoms

All essential workers in England, and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested, the government has announced.

This will mean individuals and people they live with will be able to confirm if their symptoms are caused by coronavirus and can decide whether they are well enough to return to work.

A new campaign will help essential workers in England, which includes waste collection crews, to access testing.

Booking the test can be now done online. Employers can register and refer self-isolating staff, and employees will be able to book a test directly for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing symptoms – a high temperature or new continuous cough.

The aim is to speed up the process of getting an appointment and take the “burden off employers”, according to the government, and to help reach everyone who has symptoms at the earliest opportunity.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “We have already prioritised testing for patients and health and social care workers and other key workers today I can go further.

From today, employers of essential workers will be able to go on to get a test for any of their staff who need a test.

“We are making it easier, faster and simpler for any essential worker in England who needs a test to get a test. From today, employers of essential workers will be able to go on to get a test for any of their staff who need a test.

“And from tomorrow, any essential workers who need a test will be able to book an appointment on themselves directly. This all applies for people in essential workers’ households who need a test too. It’s all part of getting Britain back on her feet.”

Essential workers using the new portal can enter their details and will then receive a text or email the same day inviting them to book an appointment at one of more than 30 drive-through testing sites across the country, or to receive a home testing kit.

Test results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48hrs, and within 72hrs of collection of the home delivery tests.

The aim is that most people should not have to drive for more than 45 minutes to get to a regional testing site. However, additional testing methods are being rolled-out to support testing accessibility.

COVID-19 testing

The government says it is on track to provide 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

The three new Lighthouse Labs in Milton Keynes, Glasgow and Alderley Park in Cheshire are increasing the country’s capacity to test for coronavirus, with each site scaling up to test tens of thousands of patient samples each day.

Each individual site took three weeks to complete and begin testing, staffed by an army of highly qualified staff and volunteers from industry and academia across the country.

Under the Government’s five-pillar strategy, swab testing has been offered to different groups in a phased approach, prioritising NHS workers, but the ultimate aim is that anyone who needs a test will be able to have one.

Testing helps the government and scientists understand the current spread of the virus and plan how to manage the pandemic moving forwards.

The Government says it is also working collaboratively across the four nations to ensure the take up of testing among essential workers.

Each of the Devolved Administrations will have their own eligibility criteria and testing priorities, however the government is working closely to align approaches.

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